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Pets Join Throng of Holiday Travelers

November 28th, 2013 | WMFE- Thousands of people are traveling through Orlando International Airport for Thanksgiving. Passengers can expect full planes- and a few traveling companions of the four legged variety as some passengers bring their pets on board.

[Pets count as carry on. Photo: Matthew Peddie / WMFE]

Thanksgiving is the busiest time of year for Orlando International Airport.

More than 1.2 million passengers will travel via the airport over the 12 day Thanksgiving period, with 118,000 passengers expected on Saturday alone.

Some of those travelers will be flying with a pet.

US Airways spokesman John Kashchy says bringing a pet in the cabin is an option- as long as it’s not too big.

“The problem we’ll run into most is if an animal’s too big to fit in the kennel," says Kashchy.

"So the one thing I would say is just make sure you have an animal small enough to fit into a small sized soft sided or hard sided kennel that can fit under the seat in front of you.”

For US airways passengers, one small domestic dog, cat or bird counts as a carry on item, and costs $125 each way.

Carry on pets aren’t allowed on flights to Europe, South America, the Middle East or some of the airline’s Caribbean destinations.

Kashchy says US airways has a limit of 6 animals per plane, but the rules vary by airline.

One thing the airlines- and the TSA- are reminding passengers not to bring with their carry-on: weapons.

While it’s legal to travel with a firearm in checked baggage, the Transportation Security Administration says passengers who forget and leave a gun in their carry on risk being arrested and could face fines and criminal charges too.

TSA Orlando federal security director Jerry Henderson says it holds up the security line for other passengers too.

But, Henderson says, the agency is trying to speed up the line in other ways.

The TSA’s expedited screening process known as pre-check is now available on 8 airlines flying out of Orlando International Airport.

Passengers who apply- and are approved- for pre check no longer have to take off their belt, shoes or take out their lap top going through security.

SouthWest, the airport’s largest carrier by volume of flights, joined the program two weeks ago.

Henderson says it makes a big difference.

“It really helps getting people through. It allows us to take a look at the passengers and the ones we know a little bit more about we don’t have to screen at the same level as the unknowns and then some that we may have concerns about.”  

Henderson says the TSA’s goal is to get 25% of airline passengers onto the pre check program.

Other airlines in the program include Virgin America, US Airways, Jet Blue, United, American, Alaska Airlines and Delta.


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