Frequently Asked Questions

About Flight Angels

What is a Flight Angel?
A flight angel is a traveler flying from Mexico to a U.S., Canadian or European destination (such as California, New York , British Columbia or Quebec) where we have a rescue partner ready to meet the traveler and take a rescued animal to its new home. If you’re interested in helping take a rescued animal along on your flight, please contact us or apply with this form.

How does the Flight Angel process work?
Let us know your flight path and dates, then we’ll get to work to see if there is a dog in need where you are heading, and a place for it to go when you arrive home. If that clicks, we’ll ask you for the necessary details to book the dog’s passage…or will provide you the information so you can do so directly, whatever your preference!  

On your travel day, a local volunteer will meet you at the airport with the dog and its paperwork in a soft-sided carrier, all ready to go. They’ll help you check in too, to make sure all goes well (and to be there to retrieve the dog just in case it doesn’t). At security, the dog is carried while the carrier goes through the x-ray. At the airport, the dog is typically leashed, carried or just stays in its carrier, it’s up to you. Before you board and during the flight, the dog stays in its carrier under the seat in front of you. At customs, you do not need to declare the dog (it is traveling in your name), and clearance is not delayed by the dog traveling with you. Then a volunteer will meet you at your destination airport to fetch the dog from you. Easy peasy!  

What if I have a connection?  
Connections are no problem at all! Most every airport has a Pet Relief Area you can visit with the dog, or not – it’s really up to you. Most flight paths are less than 8 hours and the dog is fine in the carrier for that long. The dog you are transporting has usually known great hardship… a connecting flight or a long flight are nothing compared to abuse, neglect, starvation. Your little passenger will be very appreciative, as will the many folks who have helped to change its fate.  

What if the dog barks on the plane?  
Between the white noise, the excitement, the stress and the vibration, most dogs fall right to sleep on the plane. But if for any reason you have restless dog with you, it’s really no different than traveling with a baby. They’ll settle down eventually. But truly, the overwhelming majority of dogs just conk out.

What if the dog has to go to the bathroom?  
This is a popular question. Before we answer, know that dogs will have been walked before their flight, and prepare for it with restricted meals day of. Plus most dogs are used to “holding it” longer than the duration of your flight in any case. But, being in the carrier is akin to being crated, and dogs typically won’t potty in their crate. In the unlikely event that such a thing happens, the carrier is padded and absorbent, and paper towels or potty pads are generally sent along. The most likely chance of accidents (while still slim) would be when the dog is taken out of the carrier after a long day of travel, when they are usually already in the hands of the pick-up volunteer.    

Does it matter which airline I fly?  
A few airlines such as Sun Country and Spirit do not accept dogs on international flights (but do accept dogs on domestic flights). Also helpful to know is that some airlines restrict dogs in the first class cabin, and bulkhead seating doesn’t work. As a general rule, Coach and Economy Comfort non-bulkhead seating works on Delta, American, United, Frontier and Aero Mexico, and most Canadian airlines work fine. The total number of dogs allowed on a given flight are limited, so best to make reservations in advance. Also, carrier size and weight allowances vary based on the specific aircraft you’ll be flying, so it’s necessary to confirm this information when booking.  

What does it cost?  
San Pancho Animales will cover transport expenses for the dog, or can provide a tax receipt if you want to cover the cost.

Will you cover the human airfare if that person is going to take a rescue dog on their flight?  
We wish we could, but sorry, no.

What about transporting bigger dogs?  
We love when we have the opportunity to save bigger dogs! American Airlines and West Jet tend to work best for cargo transfers from most destinations, but Delta and United can work sometimes too. We’re happy to investigate this option bearing in mind restrictions and sometimes costs. Please contact us!

What about non-commercial flights?  
Private flights work great, and provide greater latitude for size, type and number of dogs. If you’re flying on a private plane, you offer a special opportunity to save lives. Please contact us.

I fly non-rev.  Will that work?  
In most cases, yes it will! We adore when airline employees and their family members who fly non-rev are willing to transport a dog! Let’s discuss… and lucky you!   

Driving a Rescue Animal

I plan to drive from Mexico back to the US/Canada. Can I take a rescue animal?
We do have rescue dogs looking for rides! You can meet one of our volunteers along your route back north. Our most frequent pickup points are in California, and other common destinations include Oregon, Washington and Minnesota. We also occasionally have short runs to transport animals in between our destination states and elsewhere. Please contact us to see if we have an rescue animal appropriate to accompany you on your drive!

About Your New Dog

I want to adopt a new dog. How should I introduce it to my existing dog?
To successfully introduce a new dog into your household, plan ahead and be patient. Don’t assume the dogs will instantly like each other or, if they don’t, that they will work things out themselves. If your dogs get off on the wrong paw, the relationship might not recover. Taking a little extra time is well worth the effort.

Download this guide for a comprehensive list of steps to help introduce your new dog to other dogs in your home.

How should I introduce my new dog to my baby?
Your baby can have a loving, lifelong relationship with your new dog. This guide contains some tips on how to introduce them.

I have a cat at my home. How should I introduce my new dog to the cat?
Dogs and cats can live comfortably together, but a lot depends on their personalities. This guide can help with considering whether both animals may be a good match. And this guide offers a slightly different perspective and steps to take.

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