When moving pets to Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, or to the US from any of these areas, we often look to KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) first. KLM created Variation Live for the shipment of dogs and cats, ornamental fish, horses, zoo animals, cattle and more. KLM (as with all airlines) transports animals in a climate-controlled and pressurized cabin beneath the plane. You also might be able to make special arrangements to take your small pet on board with you but contact the airline for further information.
Any pet that doesn't fit underneath the seat in cabin comfortably will have to travel underneath the plane. Pets with Passports books your pet its own ticket which is known as manifest cargo. This means you do not have to be on the same flight. In fact, it's not always recommended. Pets with Passports likes to be able to contact you while your pet is traveling. On KLM, your pet must travel as manifest cargo if your pet plus its kennel weigh more than a combined 75 kgs, if its kennel is larger than a 500 or 700 crate (depends on the aircraft), if you are not on the same flight and if your pet is traveling to a country which requires them to arrive as manifest cargo (The UK, Hong Kong, South Africa, and more).
There are only four breeds that KLM will not transport as manifest cargo: Pugs, French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers due to their shorter snouts.
All pets traveling underneath the plane on KLM will transit through Amsterdam Schipol Airport for anywhere from 4-23 hours on average. KLM has an entire staff dedicated to caring for animals at the KLM Cargo Animal Hotel in Amsterdam. The staff are all animal lovers and are trained at the University of Utrecht Veterinary School on how to properly care for and handle animals. The staff keeps careful watch over your pet and if anything looks or seems awry or your animal falls ill, there is always a veterinarian on call.
At Schipol, dogs and cats are taken out of their travel crates, soiled bedding will be disposed of, and they are put into a larger kennel for the duration of their stay. Cats will access a litter box here and dogs will be walked in a fenced-in, secure area to do their business. They will also be given plenty of water and will be offered food depending on the duration of their transit. You're welcome to send a plastic bag of food with your pet and it will be attached to the top of your pet's travel crate. In the absence of its own food, your pet will be given a generic dry kibble.
KLM does not guide you on your pet's paperwork, vaccine requirements, crate purchasing, etc. If you have not already, please contact us to facilitate your pet's move and we will be happy to talk to you further about the right airline for your situation.
(One of the things we love about KLM is they routinely keep pets in the office once they have been checked in - like Sydney here who was ready for his flight to Amsterdam.)