13 January 2008

Air Skog Preparing for Departure

The cats are in the air. They had to be at the airport at 4:30 this morning for their 6:30 flight. It was kind a nightmare getting them checked. I suspect the agents just didn't want to go through the trouble of checking animals because without even batting an eye they said, "It's too cold, we're not sending animals right now." But I was armed with my information. After much haggling and showing of documentation, they relented to accepting the cats. I also think that by the time we sorted everything out, the temperature rose enough to accept them.

They said it was too cold in D.C. and they have to go by the current temperature. I said, "That's ridiculous." No where on their website does it say they use the current temperature and no agents told me that over the phone. We used a service that specifically coordinates flights for the right time of day for animals. We had a letter from the vet saying they could fly at cold temperatures. And, the temperature they told me was the cutoff at the counter was 20 degrees warmer than what their website quotes. What it comes down to is that in the name of pet safety, they actually don't want to be held liable for the safety of your pet.

After they finally agreed to take the cats and started shuffling through my paperwork (they never checked my ID, by the way), I'm told the cats will have to be removed from their carriers for weighing and TSA screening of the carriers. What? In the name of homeland security I have to remove two scared, skittery cats in a noisy, crowded airport? That does not sound safe for homeland security or the cats! But they insisted. So we insisted (I was with one of Mike's cousins), that if they have to do this, we take one cat out at a time and each cat only comes out once. Everything they need to do has to be done while the cat is out.

We had a heck of a time getting Grendel out of his carrier. Mike's cousin was pulling on Grendel, I was pulling on the carrier. He held fast. And he's weighty. When he plants it's nearly impossible to move him. Luckily he sat quietly in Mike's cousin's arms while they inspected his carrier. Ellie was surprisingly easy. I was able to open her door and grab her before she even knew what was happening.

I can't believe they couldn't do this in a quiet, secure room somewhere. It just does not seem right that cats must be removed in such a noisy, crowded area. Seriously, how safe is that? This isn't a Ziploc bag full of liquids. These are live animals!

Finally, finally, finally, the cats were locked up and labeled and I was assured they'd be getting on their plane. It took off two hours ago and I haven't received any phone calls to come back and get them so I assume they're flying. They don't like the carriers much, but they'll be okay. They were whiney on the car ride to the airport but had settled down once we were there.

They'll be thrilled to see Mike when they land.

Now the home seems so quiet. I was trying to nap and I kept expecting a cat to curl up with me, but they're not here.

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