On Sunday, we took a red-eye flight on United out of Los Angeles International Airport to Dulles International Airport. We opted for a red-eye because of temperature conditions for Loki. Even though United did not have any hot weather restrictions for us, we figured it was better to travel at night when the temperature is cooler.
We got to go to a special check-in counter, which was good because the lines for regular check-in were really long. At the special check-in desk, the customer service representative said that we were supposed to arrive 2 hours before our flight to check-in our dog. Unfortunately, I forgot this and we arrived late, only 1.5 hours before our flight. Luckily, the customer service representative didn't mind and we didn't have any problems at check-in. Then, we had to take Loki out from his crate so that TSA could check it. You know, to make sure that we weren't smuggling drugs. When they were done, we put Loki back inside and I tied down the door of his crate to prevent it from accidentally opening. Lastly, we had to say our good-byes.
I've read online a lot of suggestions about how you should watch to make sure that your crate gets on the plane. I found this difficult to do, as it was at night and boarding is often done earlier than luggage gets put on the plane. United has a process in which there is a pink tag attached to the dog crate and when the crate is on the plane, they bring you the bottom half of that tag to your seat on the plane before the doors are closed. While this does require owners to trust the plane handlers, it did give me some assurance that Loki was indeed on the plane.
Although I was a nervous wreck, I did manage to get some sleep on the plane. That helped pass the time. Finally, we arrived at Dulles and the first thing we did was go to the specially designated area to pick up Loki. We nervously waited, and watched employees dump over-sized luggage items there. We hoped that they wouldn't just dump Loki there too. Finally, an employee wheeled Loki out in a luggage cart. Good thing, they didn't just dump him like the over-sized luggage.
I'm pretty sure Loki did NOT like the plane at all. His crate smelled awful, like he either peed or vomited in there. He never messes up his crate and is pretty fastidious about being clean, so the only reason for him to mess it up must be the stress. Poor pup. At least it's now all over.