Flying internationally with my rabbit in cargo

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chachacutie

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I have been living in Tokyo, Japan for about 5 years now and due to personal reasons I'm moving back to my home country The United States in about 2 months. I have a one year old holland lop that I want to bring with me. I looked into airlines that would allow me to bring her in the cabin, but there are none available in Japan. In that case she would have to go in the cargo. I'm going to the east coast of America. I haven't bought my ticket yet but I'm probably looking at a 20 hour trip in total. I know this is extreme for a rabbit, therefore I'm looking for advice on making this as stress free as possible. Has anyone else flown internationally or with their rabbit in the cargo, please let me know what your experience was like?
 

HalaBuns

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I live in the UAE, which is a really transient country and whilst not ideal, there are a lot of expats who have also had no choice but to take their buns in cargo when they have relocated back to their home countries. There are several specialist pet travel companies here that manage the process to make it as stress-free for the animals and owners as possible and they often partner with the vet practices. As and when I do relocate, I would use one of them. Perhaps see if there is anyone reliable local to you?
 

Preitler

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not to mention the possibility of extreme temperature changes and improper pressurization of the cargo hold.
Just a side note, this part is a myth, the cargo hold has the same AC as the cabin (they can't risk freezing bottles and stuff, or condensation) and of course the same pressure, it's the same pressure vessel after all and connected.

So the main concerns are imho the long time in a small, closed space, low humidity, and the box being handled. I think part of that can be trained, and get prepared for. I definitly would rather have the rabbit in the cabin too.
 
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HalaBuns

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I don’t really understand why airlines are so opposed to letting bunnies in the cabin, particularly if they allow cats and dogs. Some will not take rabbits at all, even in cargo.

This particular issue does play on my mind and is discussed frequently on the bunny groups here, because people move around a lot. Difficulties transporting buns is also one of the main reasons we have so many abandoned here. People need to leave and either don’t have the money or figure it’s too difficult and just leave them behind instead (and I mean dump, not re-home).

I have read a few success stories, including 2 where the bunnies had to travel cargo from the Middle East to the US and were p*ssed, but arrived safe and well. Absolutely not ideal, but if there was no other option, then that’s what their owners had to do to keep their bun family with them.

Finding a good pet travel expert is the best way to help navigate through the options, as they’ll have knowledge of each airlines requirements and processes.
 

Blue eyes

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Just a side note, this part is a myth, the cargo hold has the same AC as the cabin (they can't risk freezing bottles and stuff, or condensation) and of course the same pressure, it's the same pressure vessel after all and connected.
Thanks for clarifying. I was reaching back in memory trying to recall that story about that giant rabbit that died in cargo and was all over the news.
 

chachacutie

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Thank you all for you replies. I will consult with a vet first to make sure my bun is safe to fly. I plan to fly with JAL, Japan airlines. They seemed to take their pet cargo very seriously.
 

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