Wow here we are, its 9.30pm and time to leave for the airport… the crates are clean and ready the papers are in hand, its just going to be a very long flight as the departure time is 0245 hrs!!
Well we arrive at Kolkata airport, to recap here are the papers I have found I need to get back to the USA with the 2 dogs and cat. The dogs will travel as excess baggage and the cat as a carry on (due to some local rule of 2 checked luggage pets only).
- Vaccinations (needed for USA entry)
- Screwworm certificate from vet (for USA entry)
- Health certificate ICAO form (needed for Lufthansa)
- Acclimation certificate (needed for Lufthansa)
- MONEY ( it will cost US$1250 to bring them back…thats $350 more than bringing them from the USA!)
Well we arrive at the airport, myself and my co-worker have airport passes so getting curbside parking and access to the terminal is easy, we go and do a quick visit to the airport managers office just to let them know and they kindly dispatch a assistant manager to help us in which was nice. Kolkata is a small terminal, so it pays to be personalable. Although the security force personal protecting the airport terminal are never helpful.
We get in to the terminal and checkin with Lufthansa as they open at 10pm and like always you have to be number one in line. I start the checkin process with them, and find I have to have the security people inspect the crates… problem is that they dont fit into the xray machine, so even though they can clearly see its solid plastic we must take the dog out and dissemble the crate so it will fit in the xray. The word idiot is ringing thru my head at this point. Then its back to the checkin desk, now some more stupidity, although the staff are helpful, in true Indian fashion if it says in a manual that the animals ‘should’ be weighed to them it means they must be weighed, they cant take your word on this, you may be lieing you know ….
So we drag the poor dogs back to the checkin desk, and then put them in their crates and weigh them. Problem is pumpkin the big one, and her crate dont fit on their scales, as the scales have these weird bars on them… after much discussion it is deemed possible to place her on another airlines scales and take that figure used even though technically we cannot do this as how do we know that number is correct as its another airlines scales… ahhhhhh
Now we are checked in and paid for… of course paying for them is no easy task and it must be done in a back office by the station manager, who screws up every transaction he does and it entails not one single charge on my card, but 5 charges to be done!! I swear his guy has a problem as everytime he enters a number it gets mixed up….
So now we are paid and tagged and we wait the next 3.5hrs sitting in the terminal.
Some people think our old pumpkin in a guide dog… if they only knew, the only thing she will guide you to is a fox or bear den, or maybe a rabbit warren.
Whilst sitting there, the occasional cockroach scurries past, and the place is full of mosquitos , but thats ok. But the cat that walked through was a suprise. Here it is walking thru the checkin area.
So with 1 hr to go I take the dogs out for a pee walk… easy to get them out, but getting them back in is another story!
We found some grass out the front of the terminal building, here is pumpkin finding something in the garden. As soon as I took this pic I pulled her away and wondered what she found, only to be grossed out by the sight of a fresh tampon thrown onto the plant… yes gross…all I was expecting was a bag of human shit or something like that as its normal to find everywhere on the streets in India (and they wonder why diarrhea kills to many people here..)
Well we go back into the terminal, Now in India the terminal can only be entered by paying passengers or people who buy a entry ticket, so there is security force people at the door. Here lies the problem, this time the person at the door wont let me bring the dogs in, even though I have a airport all areas pass he wants them caged as they are dangerous… even though there is no one in the building as everyone barr us is waiting in the departure lounge! Eventually I reason with the illogical logic and get in ( whats this means is I ignore him and just walk in! )
So they take the dogs on board 45 min prior to departure which is nice, problem now is they must go thru the human metal detector to get to the plane… this is a issue as the crate pumpkin is in is big, and wont fit thru the human metal detector! Oh no I think how will this be handled… but the lufthansa staff figure a way to reason with the keeper of the rule book at the metal detector and they let the dog bypass it only if he wands the crate… now tell me how is this going to work with metal bolts and metal airvents… luckily in India when the metal detector beeps they just ignore it, the purpose of the beep and a response to the beep of the metal detector isnt written in the manual apparently as they never investigate further they just wave you on!
But I am onboard and they are onboard… phew!
Frankfurt the plane arrives 45 minutes early which is great, but its tight with the BS security of Frankfurt airport and they fact that the place feels like you are walking around a construction zone…even though nothing is under construction… I make it to the connecting flight and hope the dogs did too.
Going thru a terminal and security with a cat is always fun, they wont let you xray the cat, they want it removed from the bag! So you walk thru the metal detector with this rabid cat claws out, of course you go off and they need to wand you. So now before this can happen you need to retrieve the cats carrier and shove him in it, then go back and get wanded. This guy today in Frankfurt is upset and wants the cat hair removed from my shirt before he will wand me!, “Really” I say I will be here all day if you now want my fur coat removed… after conferring with the supervisor he is made to wand me with my cat fur, although he is not happy. Now aircraft bombers must travel with cats, as every security check point you go through with a cat in bag always requires secondary screening and the sniffer machine to bomb test your belongings, its strange I couldnt imagine a bomber with a cat.
Last leg of the journey just 9 hrs flight time left, the cat is happy and on the floor, he hates turbulence though and meows a lot during it. Couldnt blame him, on this flight he surprises me and eats some chicken from my meal and drinks some water.
We arrive at Miami and after spending 45 min in the line for immigration we are into baggage claim, where I commandeer a porter and his cart and collect the dogs. The dogs have already arrived and are sitting in their crates waiting for me in the baggage claim hall beside the carousel. We get them loaded and out we go. The nice porter points me into the direction of the best line to clear customs in, and then we go for secondary inspection to get the pets back home into the USA. This is easy, we show up, the nice lady asks to see the dogs and their vaccination papers, she is happy to learn they are american dogs coming home and has a chat with them…asks them their names and if they need to go pee pee, which they reply of course you silly woman. This inspection takes all of 2 minutes, and we are out.
Back in civilization, the porter goes with us to the car, which is parked close thanks to some luck on Cindy’s part. Miami airport is a breeze as you park right at the terminal door most times. Also Miami airport has lots of dog parks just outside the entrance doors, so we run to one to have a quick pee while Cindy and the porter pull apart the crates.
We must thank Lufthansa Frankfurt too, as someone had, by the looks of it, taken the time to restock the dogs water bottles and cleaned out the cages and added some new bedding in the short period of time we were on the ground there.
And with 22 hrs of travel we are home !
Fairly painless it was, much easier to get them out than in!
Or old man moe was coughing a lot in India, sometimes he would cough for the whole time he was awake!
On return to the USA he went to the vet. We knew something was wrong with him as he had what felt like swollen tummy and this nasty nasty cough. Of course the vet in India had no clue except his diagnosis of Asthama and if he lives he lives…. well now we are back in the real world our vet for the last 8 years and friend Dominic Andreolli of All Animals Clinic here in Naples looked him over and found he has a swollen liver, and hypertension.
At first we thought it was cancer, but some expensive tests confirmed its just the above, and he hopefully will soon be better.
Well we have had not much fun with animals in India, specifically Kolkata. I visit other cities and notice a totally different attitude to dogs and pets in general, Mumbai is by far the most dog friendly city in India, you see dogs playing in the parks, walking down streets with their owners and frolicking on the beach.
So with Cindy back in Florida, and the total lack of vet care here, we have no choice but to ship them back after 6 mths.
So we are flying back Lufthansa, now going into the USA we have done before. Its a breeze. There is very little paperwork to get them in, and you will be lucky if a official even stops to check your papers when you enter.
We were worried about the paperwork to get them out. It turns out that the nightmare of paperwork is only for pets booked as freight. Booking them as excess baggage removes all the paperwork hassle.
So from the Indian side all we need to get them out is:
And of course pay the fees!, Getting them here from Miami was $900 , getting them back is $1250… go figure!
By the way there was no talk of needing any copies of these docs, they just want to see them, and also no mention of them needing photos which I had read on other sites. But of course I shall have copies and pics on hand.
Into the USA, the docs are pretty simple:
- From a licensed Vet a screwworm certificate for each dog if you are coming for a area which has it (ie India)
There is no need for a health certificate, although the website states some airports located in some states may need it, but it doesnt say which states! But its easy to get anyway before you leave.
The USA has 2 government bodies who look after the import of animals. Primarily its the CDC, and and then its the USDA. Here is the link