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Moving from IAD to LAS. Should I drive it or fly my dog?

Moving from IAD to LAS. Should I drive it or fly my dog?

Old Sep 14, 08, 10:35 am
  #1  
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Question Moving from IAD to LAS. Should I drive it or fly my dog?

I'm having real troubles thinking this one through.

I'll be moving from DC to Las Vegas in a few weeks. My company is paying for relocation and it's a really good package. I'll be going there in 2 weeks to look at potential rental houses & start work, then I'll come back to DC for a week to get my stuff together for the move. It'll be a "pack & ship" where everything is being moved for me.

Here are my options:

1) Drive the ~2500 miles from DC to Vegas with my dog. It'd just be me & the dog (I drive a pickup truck, so the cab isn't extremely spacious, but it's an extended cab 4-door 2001 Toytota Tundra with suicide doors on the back). I'd be allotted no more than 5 days to make the drive which is about 650 miles a day (which I can do, but it'll be rough after about 3 days straight driving). The company will pay my gas mileage at 58.5 cents a miles & will pay 4 nights worth of hotels (no food or any other costs).

2) Fly from IAD to LAS on a company paid one-way ticket (and I choose whatever flights I want, so the nonstop on United will be the one I select) with my dog as checked baggage (which, depending on my stuff will either be $100 or $250 - I'm a PremEx, so I think I get 3 bags & therefore, with 2 bags, my dog would be $100). This would be sometime from October 11-14 when I'd make the flight. The company will ship my truck for me via an auto transport service.

I'm getting a "pack & ship" move, but I live in a small apartment now with not a lot of stuff, so I'll get there before the 18-wheeler will (as they will need to make other stops along the way probably to fill the truck with other people's stuff to make it more economical for them), so either way, I should get to Vegas before my stuff does, but if I do the drive it's possible, though unlikely, that they will get there first.

About the dog:

She's a 9 year old Austrailian/Sheppard mix:



And she's never been on a plane before in her life. She hates vacuum cleaners, but loves car rides. I have no idea if the plane will freak her out. I know a woman who took her dog out to LA from DC & she believes her dog had a stroke on the plane. I have an airline approved pet carrier & can get all the necessary paperwork together.

The question is what to do?

Do I make her go through about 8-10 hours of misery (5 hour flight + at least 3 hours on the side + possibly delays) which will be EXTREMELY better for me? Or do I suck it up & spend 2500 miles in a car with her over the course of 5 days to keep her stress levels down. If I was able to do this without have to use 5 days to travel & wasnt' doing the drive in a pick-up truck by myself, I'd happily do the drive. But I see some real value in the option #2 from a time & ease perspective.

What are FT'ers thoughts? Anyone check their dogs under the plane on United? Experiences?

Thank you!
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Old Sep 14, 08, 11:01 am
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This time of year?

Drive, without question.

See America first (but check ahead for "pet friendly" motels). Five days in each other's company will be an experience that you and the dog will both remember. This will all be new and strange to her, and her insecurity will be greatly lessened by having you within "touching" distance. In your case, she'll not be with you forever, and you'll have gained immeasurably by having experienced and being able to later recall just how close the bond between dog and man can be.

Years ago, I drove my daughter's furniture and dog from Texas to Ohio in Midwinter in a rental truck, about 1200 miles. The dog, a mixed breed Ridgeback/Terrier cross about 6 at the time had been abandoned in national forest and rescued by her when she was just starting A&M, and had never spent much time with at our house.

After 2 1/2 days together (she riding on a quilt on the floor between the two bucket seats of the truck, mostly sitting up with her head on my thigh)), 2 motel nights, and some rest stops in the first snow she had ever seen, she developed no little affection for me. For the rest of her life, another decade, even after a couple of years of separation, every time in which she or I entered a room or house where the other was, she ran to me, simply to put her head on my leg.

Dogs remember, and our memories of their remembering form the stuff of remembrance.
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Old Sep 14, 08, 1:01 pm
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My dog's been on roadtrips with me in the past & she's a camping/hiking dog. As for the drive & seeing the country. I've done the driven cross-country & back twice before, so I'm not as keen on seeing the country again. I think for me, it's more of a logistics & safety issue regarding flying.

I definitely see your points about the bonding though - she'd probably like the roadtrip, as she loves being in the car. But I can also see her getting tired of it. 5 days wiht 10-12 hour days in the car is a long time (even with rest breaks every few hours)...for both dog & human.
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Old Sep 14, 08, 2:02 pm
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If it's comfort of the truck vs a car or something better - you could always ship the truck and rent a car for the drive. It should still be a covered expense.

Second for the drive, particularly with the temps in Vegas and the lack of attention in general by airline folks.

On my one and only trip putting my cat below (had 2, they forced me to put one under even though I'd purchased two tickets), I found out they left the cat outside on the cart FACING the plane as it moved into the gate. The folks on the tarmac wear ear protection for a reason and my cat had nothing, and that was before being loaded on the plane and the flight itself. He was definitely affected by the experience and it took a month or two for him to totally settle down - who knows if he ever truly recovered.
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Old Sep 14, 08, 7:23 pm
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I have seen a few posts of Flyertalkers taking their Cats cross country (like Mileage Addict and his Cat from the West Coast to Virginia.)

If you can I would Drive. If you can plan it out with pet friendly hotels and rest areas along the way it should work.

Anyone moved with dogs cross country and can offer theri thoughts?

Good luck on the move bhatnasx and, going off topic, there's a good group of Flyertalkers in LAS to make you feel welcome.
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Old Sep 14, 08, 7:29 pm
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Bhat...

You may also try to scan this thread if you haven't already:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=cross+dog

While it's a good thread about traveling with your Doggie on vacation it has some good points which may apply for Cross Country travel.

While I'm a Cat person your dog is a cutie!
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Old Sep 14, 08, 7:41 pm
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Road trip! I would never ship a dog in the baggage hold if I had the alternative to drive. A few years ago, when MrxXS and I moved from Boston to Colorado, we road-tripped with our greyhound. I flew the 2 cats out as underseat carry-on on other trips, but I never even considered flying the pup.

I'm taking her on my next Colorado-Raleigh road-trip in a couple of months when I swap which car I keep where for the winter (AWD GMC van goes back to the mountains, the diesel VW with cold-starting problems goes to the Southland). The bonding time should be good. Remember the old Nissan(?) ad: "Dogs Love Trucks".
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Old Sep 15, 08, 1:04 am
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Wow. I'm sort of suprised that folks are overwhelmingly encouraging me to drive with Indy (named after Indiana Jones since he was named after his dog & it used to be one of my favorite movies growing up) rather than fly her. I figured some would encourage me to fly her & reassure me that it's perfectly safe & accidents are one in a million.

My parents are strongly encouraging me to fly her because they think she'll be fine for the 8-10 hours that'll be stressful rather than driving the whole way by myself.

Definitely a lot to think about...
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Old Sep 15, 08, 6:32 am
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Originally Posted by bhatnasx View Post
my dog as checked baggage (which, depending on my stuff will either be $100 or $250 - I'm a PremEx, so I think I get 3 bags & therefore, with 2 bags, my dog would be $100)
Pets shipped as checked baggage are not charged as regular baggage. On United, there is a specific pet shipping fee which depends on the size of the kennel - it will be either $125 or $250 depending on how big the kennel is, and this is independent of your regular baggage allowance.

Originally Posted by bhatnasx View Post
5 days wiht 10-12 hour days in the car is a long time (even with rest breaks every few hours)
FWIW, you can make that drive in 3 or 4 days. I drove a U-Haul from DC to SF 7 years ago and did that entire drive in 4.5 days. Your pickup will be much easier to drive and you can safely go faster (should you choose to) than I could have in the U-Haul. Even if you drive only 650 miles per day, if you take the most direct route you'll get there in 4 days tops.

As for what to do... it's a tough call. You'll be reimbursed either way, so it's really a question of what's best for you. If you're willing to make the drive and the peace of mind is worth it to you, go for it. I'd also be loathe to put the dog in the hold (we take ours in-cabin), but then again, the chances of problems are very small and we're talking about saving 4 days and major exhaustion. If it were me, I'd probably fly, because despite my misgivings about the cargo hold, saving 4 days is just too much to pass up.
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Old Sep 15, 08, 11:58 am
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I would drive!

Its fall and it will be a good time to drive cross-country (and we expect a detailed trip report!).

See if you can get a friend to come with if you have room in Tundra (nice truck by the way) - that could make it a fun road trip.

I did a non-stop IUB - LAS drive during college with a college friend and we drove non-stop! Now that was a road trip.

Stop at as many diners as you can find!
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Old Sep 15, 08, 4:05 pm
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I would not risk shipping your dog if you are on the fence and have the time to drive.

One mistake by an airline cargo person and your dog could arrive dead. I read of a lot of animals dying from the cargo hold being too hot in the summer, either by malfunction, extended ground delay where they shut down the main air conditioner, or a mistake by the ground crew. Especially now when the airlines are trying to save as much fuel as possible.

Here is a site I found for airline incident reports:

http://www.thirdamendment.com/animals.html
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Old Sep 16, 08, 10:40 am
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Originally Posted by Tummy View Post
Here is a site I found for airline incident reports:

http://www.thirdamendment.com/animals.html
Thanks for the link...

I'm going to do the drive.

Thanks for the opinions, everyone!
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Old Sep 16, 08, 11:13 am
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Originally Posted by bhatnasx View Post
Thanks for the link...

I'm going to do the drive.

Thanks for the opinions, everyone!
Sorry for the guilt trip, but really think that's the right decision.

Rent a car/truck for it - save the miles on your truck and get some comfort for the two of you.
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Old Sep 16, 08, 11:18 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by bhatnasx View Post
Wow. I'm sort of suprised that folks are overwhelmingly encouraging me to drive with Indy (named after Indiana Jones since he was named after his dog & it used to be one of my favorite movies growing up) rather than fly her. I figured some would encourage me to fly her & reassure me that it's perfectly safe & accidents are one in a million.

My parents are strongly encouraging me to fly her because they think she'll be fine for the 8-10 hours that'll be stressful rather than driving the whole way by myself.

Definitely a lot to think about...
Even if the airline safety record for pets was good, I would still recommend
driving. She will be lot more comfortable.

I think you made a good choice to drive.
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Old Sep 16, 08, 11:24 am
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If you have to get the Truck to Vegas..Drive it yourself with Indy.
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