Pets on planes: The four-legged frequent flyers

Image source, Brenda Lee-Lovell
Image caption, Brenda's dog Toby is a frequent flyer between Canada and France

The death of Simon the giant rabbit - travelling on a plane to meet its new owner - was circulated widely on social media. We asked for your experiences of taking your pets on flights.

Brenda Lee-Lovell, who frequently transports her dog, Toby, between Canada and France, has some handy hints for people preparing to take their animals on board a flight.

"I check in my bag, get the paperwork done for the dog transport and then sit with him right until the last minute before he must be taken to a holding area for usually 90 minutes.

"I ensure the dog has been safely loaded, by walking up to the front of the plane to speak to the flight director, who confirms there's a dog on board. Even better is to stand there and have someone check with the pilot.

"Do not assume your pet will be given the same attention as a cabin passenger."

Image source, Paul Raston
Image caption, Scooter and Harriet were left far away from the passenger terminal at Paris CDG until their owners found them

Paul and Hilary Ralston, who live in France, took their two cats on a flight from Los Angeles to Paris.

"Airline staff were totally unhelpful in Paris about where to find the poor things," said Paul.

"After multiple false leads, we ended up in a hire car well away from the passenger terminal in some huge freight warehouse where the two cages were standing next to a wide open truck door on a cold and windy evening."

Image source, Kat Considine
Image caption, Jacob was seven years old when he died

Sadly, Kathleen Considine, from the US, knows only too well what it is like to lose a pet in transit. Her dog, Jacob, had been cleared to fly by a vet prior to departure.

"I recently lived a horror story flying my perfectly healthy seven-year-old golden retriever from Detroit to Portland. The airline didn't check to see if his crate would fit on his connecting flight, resulting in his 10-hour travel time extending to 32 hours.

"His stomach flipped due to the stress and suffocated his organs. My best friend didn't make it."

Image source, Dr C M Polsner
Image caption, Tommy and Billy "arrived in tip-top condition" after flying from Mexico to the UK, says owner Dr Polsner

Dr Polsner, from Suffolk, transported his dogs from Mexico to the UK without any problems, he says:

"The staff spoke to us several times before they were shipped and they arrived in tip-top condition. They were flown via Newark where they were taken off the plane and treated extremely well in a 'pet hotel'.

"I only have praise for the staff who arranged the flights and the transport."

Image source, Natalie Falcon
Image caption, Flying Natalie Falcon's snow-spotted Bengal Frostie to the US along with Frankie the moggie was "a very good experience", she says.

Natalie Falcon moved from the UK to the US six years ago.

"I transported my two cats on a British airline. It was a very good experience. They were professional, caring and organised."

Image source, Mark Jamieson
Image caption, Ginger is one of Mark Jamieson's three cats which he transported to the UK

When Mark Jamieson returned to Manchester from the US with his three cats, he described the process as "awful".

"After driving them for 12 hours to the airport, I was told to hand them over at the cargo centre where forklift trucks and cargo staff were going about their business. There were no facilities to clean out the cats' carriers. No-one seemed to be expecting me.

"I waited hours for my payment to be processed and an inspection to take place. A bloke looked into each carrier and confirmed they were cats. That was it! I only just managed to check in on time myself.

"I had no idea if my cats were on the plane or not. But when I arrived in the UK's airport cargo centre, the staff were very professional. I was relieved to see my cats again."

Image source, Frank Trevino
Image caption, Danbi has been well looked after on his flights between Houston and Seoul, Frank Trevino tells the BBC

Frank Trevino has flown his Japanese Spitz Danbi twice overseas between Seoul and Houston.

"My wife and I are happy with the efforts of the airline to ensure our family pet is safe."

Sandra Siegel, a vet in Germany, says people should be educated about transporting pets.

"As a rabbit owner, [the story of Simon the rabbit] is heartbreaking and hits home to me. There needs to be recognition that these pets are like family members to their owners.

"Perhaps the airlines should consider professional advice and recommendation from veterinarians. They are service providers after all."

Compiled by Sherie Ryder, BBC's UGC and Social News team.

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