Airlines can set own policies on guinea pigs
We recently took our pet guinea pig along for a flight on Hawaiian Airlines. However, Hawaiian refused to let our pet on board because it was classified as a rodent. We were told it is the company's policy. After returning, I asked Aloha Airlines about its policy. It has no problem with allowing a guinea pig on, as long as the state Department of Agriculture has someone check the animal and provides a certificate of approval. What is the policy of other interisland airlines? Is it only Hawaiian Airlines that refuses to carry guinea pigs, and can they do this when we have the state's certificate of approval?
Answer: Basically, each airline can set its own policy.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which sets guidelines for animal air travel, says that if airlines do accept animals, they must comply with federal guidelines, but "airlines are not required to carry live animals, and they reserve the right to refuse to carry an animal for any reason." (See Kokua Line, May 9, 2004.)
Go! airlines says on its Web site that household pets, "such as a dog or cat, may travel with you in the passenger cabin provided your pet is in a kennel small enough to fit under the seat."
When we called go! to ask about guinea pigs, a representative said it allows only dogs and cats on its flights -- no guinea pigs.
You should always check to see what the policy is regarding pets on the airline you are flying on, because policies, restrictions and charges vary among the carriers.
For example, Aloha Airlines won't carry any animal on any flight to and from the mainland, or on the mainland, but on interisland flights will allow "small domestic cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, turtles and household birds (in cabins) provided they are harmless, inoffensive, odorless and require no attention during transit."
Hawaiian Airlines has the most detailed and restrictive policies, even specifying the conditions under which it will accept brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs on its flights, which involves signing liability forms.
A good source for viewing the general pet policies of the major airlines is pettravel.com, but you should double-check with each airline.
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