Moving Your Pet The Sneaky Way

Pet owners on the move sometimes face additional expenses if they want to take their barker, yowler, or silent starer with them. For a price, many companies offer pet moving services – whether you have to drive, fly, or row a boat to your new home, you can hire them to take care of your precious pet person.

On the other hand, you could just follow in the footsteps of other pet owners and smuggle your pet around in your carry-on bag. Why? To avoid the fee.

Airlines typically charge extra “pet fees” – which could run you anywhere from $150 to more than what your ticket cost – to transport your beloved ball of fur. Instead of forking over the cash, Atlanta-based consultant Robin Boggs packs her pet dog “Cricket” into her carry-on luggage.

“When I asked why I had to pay a fee in order to stuff my dog under the seat in front of me, I was told it was their policy,” Boggs said. “I concluded that it’s really just a ploy to charge another fee.”

Hotels often levy a similar pet fee, and even if you do manage to get a hotel room, it might not be a nice one. That’s why Amy Luwis, the co-founder of a pet adoption website, dresses up her pit bull in a red vest and smooth-talks the hotel staff into believing it’s a service animal.

“I’m not proud of this charade,” Luwis said. “But after 20 years of being relegated to the dank, bad hotel rooms and too many stays in biohazard motels – or worse, having no place to stay at all – I decided to take matters into my own hands and fool the general public.”

Airlines and hotels do have a right to enforce such policies, of course. Most airlines just aren’t properly equipped to transport pets, while hotel owners tend to be more worried about allergies.

“A cat in a unit, even for a day or two, literally poisons it for future guests,” said Fort Lauderdale-based hotel owner Elaine Fitzgerald. “It’s even worse than cigarette smoke.”

While smuggling and role playing may seem to be ideal for some pet owners, a little research and planning could help you locate pet-friendly hotels and pets-only air carriers. You might have to pay a fee, but at least your seatmates won’t wonder why your bag is barking!

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