You're at the airport, with your furry friend in their airline-approved pet carrier, ready to board the plane and be off to your destination. You're patient waiting in line to get through the security check, and maybe you're a bit nervous about what will happen. How will the TSA agent react to your traveling companion? Will there be any problems?
There is nothing to be worried about as long as you're prepared!
Being prepared is very important when it comes to air travel with pets. If you know exactly how the procedure will go, it will make it much easier when it comes time to get through security. With all of the chaos and confusion at security checkpoints, and people intent on quickly getting through so they can board their plane, the best thing you can do is familiarize yourself about what will happen.
First of all, the TSA agent will ask you to present your pet to them for security screening. If you are able to, you will be asked to walk your pet through the metal detector. If this is not possible, your pet will still need to be checked over via a secondary screening involving both a visual and physical check. Yes, as funny as it may seem, your little buddy is going to need a pat-down along with you. Do not worry – your pet will never be asked to undergo an x-ray screening, but you may be asked to remove it from its carrier, as the security guards will probably want to scan the carrier itself. It's standard procedure.
If your pet is easily spooked or you think the high commotion of the airport may scare them or cause them to act out, you can request a room to keep your pet inside while the x-ray check of their carrier is taking place. This is a good option if you fear that you may not be able to contain your pet in the airport once it is out of its carrier. Please consider the fact that even the calmest of pets can get nervous or scared when in a loud, unfamiliar environment. The last thing you want is your little buddy to take off across the airport!
When traveling by air with a pet, the key is to be prepared. Get to the airport well in advance of your boarding time to give yourself time to get to the gate and get through screening. Make sure you have your hands free of personal belongings when it comes time to go through the security check so that you can easily handle your pet. If you're traveling with another person, they can be a big help, but it's not hard if you're traveling alone. Bringing a leash along will be a big help for when it comes time to remove your pet from its carrier. Remember, even if your pet is usually calm, if they've never been through an airport security check before, you can never know exactly how they'll react to the noise and strangers around them.