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What TSA Wants You To Know Before Flying With Your Pet

Sometimes we can't leave Fido or Fifi behind while traveling by air. When taking your beloved pet along with you, there are some things you should be aware of, so that you and your precious cargo can have a pleasant trip.

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ISLANDS ~ "It's hard to imagine traveling by air without a run-in with TSA — and yes, that includes those self-service screenings — but we often forget that this government agency is relatively young, having only been around since 2001. Its primary mission is to keep everyone safe, and that includes your pets. With more people jet-setting with their four-legged friends, TSA has to screen them, too. And while most pets are inherently good (why else would TSA have working dogs?), they still have to follow rules to sail past security, just like us humans. Rule number one? Put them in proper carriers.

'TSA recognizes that for many pet owners, their animals are an extension of their family and they want to travel together,' Anne Cross, TSA Deputy Federal Security Director for Colorado, explained. 'Becoming familiar with the screening procedures and how to clear security quickly and easily is the first step to embarking on a great trip with your pet.'

When going through security checkpoints, TSA advises pet parents to house them in hand-held travel carriers. Major airlines like United, American Airlines, and JetBlue have their own requirements for these bags, but generally, the best pet carriers for air travel need to be compact enough to fit under the seat in front of you. When it comes time for the actual screening, though, the advice is clear: carry your pet or keep them on a leash. But whatever you do, don't even think about subjecting them to the X-ray machine." ~ ISLANDS

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