Air travel with cockatoo

flapflapglide

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Mar 19, 2014
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San Diego, CA
Parrots
Loki, a Goffin's cockatoo, and Mango, a sun conure.
Very long story short, I recently inherited two birds, a Goffin's cockatoo and a sun conure. They are currently located on the East Coast, and I live on the West Coast. I am planning on traveling by air with them either as carry-ons, or with them in cargo. Either way, my question stands: WHERE can I find a travel carrier that my cockatoo won't chew through in an hour? Wingabagos look fancy and nice and all, but I can't use that as a carry-on, and I'm afraid of overheating if they're left in the sun for whatever reason (during flight transfer, etc.). I'm also not sure if it would be better for them to be covered during transport or not. The cockatoo has already chewed through part of a traditional plastic pet carrier during a visit to the vet, so he knows he can do it. Regular travel cages are not airline approved. Any suggestions? Does any manufacturer make a reinforced, airline-approved travel carrier? Help?

Admins, if this post is in the wrong location, please help me find the right place. I'm new! :)

:white1::orange:
 

JerseyWendy

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Jul 20, 2012
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Hi there, and welcome to the forum. :)

Have a look at this, please: Making Your Own Travel Carrier | Jamieleigh's Parrot Help

I can fully understand your worry about the Goffin making short work of the travel cage, so hopefully these modifications would work for you.

The other option you have is to take the Goffin into the cabin (carry on), and the sun in cargo. I believe you are only allowed 1 carry on, and make sure you let the airlines know WAY ahead of time. :)

Best of luck!
 
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flapflapglide

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Mar 19, 2014
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San Diego, CA
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Loki, a Goffin's cockatoo, and Mango, a sun conure.
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Thanks! I'm still concerned about the carrier being plastic though. Or is it reinforced with plexiglass? Also, I wish I could devise a way to put them in the same carrier, but they HATE each other right now (hoping to work on that, but not holding my breath). I also read another website where the person had gotten a custom cage company to make reinforced panels they could attach to the inside of the carrier, but I'd worry about them getting feet stuck in the gaps. Gah, so much to think about!

I have about 9 weeks before travel time, so that gives me some time to play around with varying configurations/materials.
 

Kiwibird

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2012
9,538
58
Parrots
1 BFA- Kiwi. Hatch circa 98', forever home with us Dec. 08'
Very long story short, I recently inherited two birds, a Goffin's cockatoo and a sun conure. They are currently located on the East Coast, and I live on the West Coast. I am planning on traveling by air with them either as carry-ons, or with them in cargo. Either way, my question stands: WHERE can I find a travel carrier that my cockatoo won't chew through in an hour? Wingabagos look fancy and nice and all, but I can't use that as a carry-on, and I'm afraid of overheating if they're left in the sun for whatever reason (during flight transfer, etc.). I'm also not sure if it would be better for them to be covered during transport or not. The cockatoo has already chewed through part of a traditional plastic pet carrier during a visit to the vet, so he knows he can do it. Regular travel cages are not airline approved. Any suggestions? Does any manufacturer make a reinforced, airline-approved travel carrier? Help?

Admins, if this post is in the wrong location, please help me find the right place. I'm new! :)

:white1::orange:

Welcome to the forum.

I would NEVER send a bird in cargo personally. Just too much that can go wrong for such a very sensitive animal. Mind you this was many years ago, my grandma shipped a pet crow once in cargo, and it came off the plane with a bloody, featherless head because the plane hit turbulence and it bounced around down there. If this is just a trip to pick them up, is there a friend or family member you could come along and take one as their carry on and you take the other as your carry on? We just ordered a carrier from this company for our amazon, and I saw they also make a special "carry on" carrier for the plane. They are supposedly made in such a way the bird cannot chew (stainless mesh, hidden zipper the bird cant grab ect...) it's way out of, and have special options for heavy chewers. They get good reviews online. Perhaps call the company and ask just HOW durable their carriers are- Bird Airline Travel Carrier for birds and parrots

Best of luck with your new friends!
 
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flapflapglide

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Mar 19, 2014
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San Diego, CA
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Loki, a Goffin's cockatoo, and Mango, a sun conure.
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Yeah, I am extremely suspicious of cargo travel and would like to avoid it if I can, but there are some problems. One is that every airline I've spoken to that allows birds says that the bird can't be a screamer. My birds have been kept in one room for the last 10+ years (NOT by me, don't shoot the messenger) and I honestly have no idea how they're going to react to travel. I took the cockatoo to the vet last week and he was very quiet, but I'm pretty sure the sun conure is going to scream the entire time (that's kind of his M.O.). And I can't afford to get kicked off a flight halfway across the country and be stuck.

My other concern is temperature. Isn't the cargo hold depressurized, and isn't it freezing cold down there? How do people deal with this?
 

Kiwibird

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Jul 12, 2012
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Parrots
1 BFA- Kiwi. Hatch circa 98', forever home with us Dec. 08'
I might ask the vet if there is a way to mildly sedate both birds. Again, a one time thing, and it may make the whole experience less traumatizing if they were both conked out the entire way. When my BIL moved cross country, he has his dog sedated for the flight. The vet gave him some kind of pills to crush up and put in the dogs food. It basically woke up in a new place, and probably had no memory of the flight or being crammed in a small carrier. I'm not sure if theres something that can be safely given to parrots, but it's worth a try to ask the vet. Is there someone where the birds are who can take them for some short car trips and see how they respond to travel? you never know, some animals have 0 problems with travel. Our bird never has, he in fact thinks the most miserably long trips are great fun.
 

JerseyWendy

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Jul 20, 2012
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Here is another link for you: Pet Travel Requirements & Restrictions | Delta Air Lines

I've had several birds "shipped" to me, and both breeders used Delta Pet First (or something like this). I had ZERO issues, and all the birds arrived save and sound.

The area where the pets stay is pressurized and the temperature down there is the same as where the passengers sit.

I've also flewn with half a zoo overseas. 2 huge dogs and my cockatiel was my carry on. Again, ZERO problems, and boy, that was a long flight. :eek:
 
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flapflapglide

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Mar 19, 2014
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San Diego, CA
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Loki, a Goffin's cockatoo, and Mango, a sun conure.
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Haha, I've heard funny stories of parrots being really excited about car travel.

I'm not sure whether sedation is even an option (could be pretty dangerous if they don't get dosage correct), and most airlines say they will not accept an animal that has been sedated (in cargo, specifically... I don't know about as carry-on).
 
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flapflapglide

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San Diego, CA
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Loki, a Goffin's cockatoo, and Mango, a sun conure.
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Thanks for the airline info! United Airlines also does pet shipping in cargo, their program is called "PetSafe." Right now they are my top cargo choice if I go that route.

It's reassuring to know they're not going to be rattling around in a cold depressurized plane hull!
 

SilverSage

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Sep 14, 2013
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I also say thanks for the airline info! I will be flying soon to Hawaii, and due to the strict quarantine regulations they MUST be in cargo, even with Delta. I appreciate the links!
 

JennyB

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When my family moved across country 9 years ago we flew Delta, and had to check our 2 birds (a cockatiel & budgie). I made sure they had plenty of food/water/toys/snugglies... The pet cargo area was pressurized and climate controlled, and despite my fears, we had no problems whatsoever. They apparently had a fantastic flight, I on the other hand was a nervous wreck the entire time!

I definitely would have preferred to have the birds in the cabin with me, but another passenger had a dog with her, and there were rules about how many pets are allowed in the cabin each flight. But if I ever have to fly with birds again, I'll feel much better about their safety. The first time is always the scariest I guess!
 

jenphilly

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Delta is kind of the premiere pet transport for the airlines... they have an excellent reputation and almost have a specialty department for animal transport. I know the vast majority of bird breeders use Delta.

I second Kiwi's thought about talking to the vet about a mild sedative, you don't want to knock the bird out, there is as much danger there as there is for airline travel! But something like a twilight type med might do the trick and eliminate the loud screaming!! I also would make sure you are doing nonstop flights... one think to have a bird carry on at the layover point and you find yourself in a pickle but I seriously doubt any pilot is gonna land a plane when its nonstop and they are 80% to the destination :) heck, they don't do that for screaming kids... if you can have screaming kids, why not a screaming bird???

Good luck in getting this all put together!!! And I think its wonderful you are giving these babies a home. Many people would not go thru the trouble you are, even if they were left to them in a will.
 

getwozzy

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Feb 26, 2013
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Oregon
My galah was shipped to me from Southern California to northern Oregon- not as long of a trip as yours, but she flew Delta...

Here's what she came in- a plastic cat carrier with metal reinforcing the sides and the door, with multiple zip ties ensuring there was no way the door could open.
 

aether-drifter

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Jan 12, 2013
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Portland, OR
I don't know about the carrier, but would look into a direct flight. Six hours in a carrier is already bad enough for a bird...I would hate to subject them to a layover if it's at all avoidable. A shorter travel time would also mean less opportunity for carrier destruction. I flew Delta from New York to Portland with my galah (same size as a Goffins), and used this carrier: cabin kennels | Petmate

It was perfect. I did have to cover it with a towel while we were in the airport, because she's scared of strangers and sudden movements. Having a towel over the top really helped keep her calm. I had her in the cabin with me so I could keep an eye on her. It all worked out pretty well.
 
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flapflapglide

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Mar 19, 2014
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San Diego, CA
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Loki, a Goffin's cockatoo, and Mango, a sun conure.
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So I've done some more research and made some more calls. I cannot believe how frustrating this has been. The airline will ONLY ship birds in cargo in a regular plastic pet carrier that has been reinforced with metal mesh on the inside. As far as I can tell from my hours of scouring the internet, nobody makes pet carriers to these specifications. Winagbago and other acrylic carriers are apparently a no-go, even though they seem WAY safer than lining a carrier with metal mesh myself.... have you ever worked with that stuff? Those edges are so sharp.

Any other ideas? I am at wit's end here. I also only have 6 weeks to figure something out, which pretty much eliminates having a company custom-create this carrier for me. I just don't understand... is there some resource I'm missing here?

Will Delta ship pets unaccompanied on a flight? I hear all of your concerns about getting a direct flight, but they don't exist from Baltimore to San Diego on either United or Delta.
 
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aether-drifter

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Portland, OR
Sorry if you've already addressed/answered this, but is there a reason you have to fly the birds in cargo (rather than have them on the plane with you)?
You don't have to have a custom carrier for cargo, though -- you can reinforce a commercial hard plastic one with screws and mesh like what getwozzy posted.
 
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RavensGryf

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Jan 19, 2014
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College Station, Texas
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I second Wendy's post - and what Jen said about Delta Airlines. I have had several birds fly with Delta "pets first" program. They really know what they're doing with birds. Lots of people will tell you that also.
Many breeders will block the cat or dog crate holes with the wire mesh on the outside (like getwozzy showed). Or, with bed sheet or cardboard (or whatever) and duct tape, so the bird won't be scared by seeing out, and having people peek in or stick fingers in, yet allowing for adequate ventilation. It is acceptable by Delta, and is the airline most bird breeders use and trust. Is it possible you can fly Delta?

@getwozzy - your bird went from SoCal to Oregon directly? A bird of my mom's went from Northern CA, to Atlanta GA, to Southern CA!! I forgot how many hours that was, but it was ridiculous. I guess they didn't have a direct flight!
 
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flapflapglide

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Mar 19, 2014
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San Diego, CA
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Loki, a Goffin's cockatoo, and Mango, a sun conure.
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Sorry if you've already addressed/answered this, but is there a reason you have to fly the birds in cargo (rather than have them on the plane with you)?
You don't have to have a custom carrier for cargo, though -- you can reinforce a commercial hard plastic one with screws and mesh like what getwozzy posted.

I currently live in California and the birds are located in Maryland. Even if I did fly back to escort them, I could only take one into the cabin with me and I'd still be stuck with this issue. I'm going to call Delta today and see what their rules are. The carrier with the reinforced metal on the outside makes so much more sense to me than lining the inside!

Thanks so much for all your help everybody! This is a crazy time for me.
 

getwozzy

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Oregon
@Ravensgryf- I think she had to go from south Cali to Utah, then to Portland because Utah is the airport "hub" over here... So it wasn't a straight shot and she was dropped off first thing in the morning but I didn't pick her up till late afternoon/early evening.

@flapflapglide -if you'd like me to send you better pictures of the crate, I can... And I know my picture makes the crate look dirty and grungy, but it's been in storage for 6+ months lol
I can get you pics of the inside too so you can see how everything attaches, etc
I know it's not the prettiest method- but it worked and there was no way she could've escaped!!
 
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flapflapglide

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Mar 19, 2014
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San Diego, CA
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Loki, a Goffin's cockatoo, and Mango, a sun conure.
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@getwozzy it would be great if you could send me more photos of the carrier, including the interior. I am going to look into using Delta, but there's one thing I'm concerned about. Their website says that I need documentation proving that both birds were captive born/bred in the U.S.... I don't have proof of that. These guys changed hands so many times before my grandparents even got them that I can't trace their lineage. Mango (the sun conure) has a band, but that doesn't necessarily prove anything. Any thoughts? Is this going to be a problem?
 

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