Every airline have different rules on pets, if your corgis are small enough (pups), you can fly your dogs in the cabin with you in a sherpa bag. Since my corgis are both full grown and I was traveling alone, it was not an option.
We called several airlines to compare traveling policy and flight cost, in the end we picked Air Canada because it was a direct flight and it was early in the morning. (cooler)
We spent 2 days comparing crates in different places, in the end we purchased 2 Petmate - Vari Kennel Ultra Fashion crates (Large 36″ x 25″ x 27″) from Petsmart.
We picked this crate because of a few things:
1. Airline rule: Only 1 corgis in 1 crate, so we bought 2.
2. It was made with a tougher higher grade plastic.
3. It had metal screws all around the crate to reinforce the crate, others only had plastic snap on fasterners
4. Airline require 3 wire vents around the crate.
5. Airline require dog to turn around inside the crate comfortably, since our corgis have long body, we had to buy larger crate.
6. single handle on top, only one hand required to lift instead of 2 hands.
We bought 2 crates for $120
10 days before flight
I started reinforcing the dogs to eat and sleep in the new crate, the new crate is darker than our wire mesh ones, so I place the crate in common areas where they can always see me, slowly increase their in crate time and always associate yummy food with the crate. A few days later, they felt comfortable to venture into their new crate without treats.
Health Cert & Rabies Cert
If you're flying within the US, there is no need for a health cert, you may want to take your rabies cert with you if you plan to visit a kennel or a local dog park. Since we were traveling to Canada, we had to get a 10 day old health cert from the vet, it is a document dated, signed by your vet with state seal, you present this document to the immigration officer when you go through customs.
I walked them for the last time, potty break, no breakfast, only some water. Put them in their crates with my old T-shirts.
Here's the world's first undercover video shot inside a dog crate.
The hatch video was pitch black and noisy. The ipod battery did not last long enough for landing (2 hr flight).
Canadian custom was a breeze, after I claimed my own baggage, I had to go to a special area to claim the dogs, it's usually the place where you claim your surf board, golf clubs...etc. So there they were, Vienna was happy, Mocha was a little nervous.
We proceed to the animal customs, I present the agent the health certs, all the agents circled our crates to play the with dogs through the wire door. a few minutes later and we were done.
Traveling with 2 dog crates and your own baggage is not easy, I had to use one hand to steer the cart with two dog crates, the other hand wheeling my suitcase. The crates barely fit the airport cart, it was impossible to put my suitcase on top or bottom.
After I exit the gate, Silvia (my wife) was there to greet us, the dogs were very excited to see her. while we were walking to the Toronto airport parking garage, Mocha couldn't hold any longer, he pooped his pants. My shirt was sacrificed but I still have my ipod.
1. I should have lined the crate with puppy training mat with double sided tape for absorbency.
2. Always keep paper towel in the car, some wet disinfectant wipe is good.
3. TSA agents NEVER saw the ipod, they put the crate on a table to inspect, but never duck down to see an ipod taped inside a dog crate.
4. The baggage people were quite gentle in handling the animals, not so much your baggage. They actually took time to strap down the crates to make sure they were secure.
5. TSA agent recommend zip ties, so that your animals will not bust out the crate.
6. I found it very funny that the airline asked me what my dogs eat, I thought they were gonna give them a free meal, turns out they want to make sure if they were lost, there's feeding instructions.
7. I can probably get on freecycle.org or cragslist to find dog crates, but may be not the construction the airline required.
John - my best friend who drove me & the dogs to the airport at 4AM.
GLAD - for making awesome zip lock bags that is waterproof but not sound proof.
Duck tape - for your unlimited creative useage.
Apple - for making a thin, lightweight, affordable video recorder.
TSA - for not discovering my ipod and confiscate it.
Ground baggage people - for handling my dogs with care and not stealing my ipod.
Use the iPod to provide entertainment/reassurance during the trip.
"Think bacon, Mocha. Nice, fresh, fat-dripping bacon. Waiting for you soon at the end of this trip. Bacon. Bacon. Bacon... or kitty litterbox treats..." (no accounting for taste)
You could provide music, but that's risky. How do you know if the dog likes it or not? [The CIA uses incessant music for torture.] I can imagine a dog trapped in a dark cargo hold on an coast-to-coast redeye flight: "OMD! OMD!! He's playing MOZART!! OMD, I HATE that *$%^&@! Mozart!! I'm gonna die. I want reggae. Or Motown. Please, please, anything but Mozart! Even Stravinsky. Even Rachmaninoff. MOZART!?! I'd rather hear a leafblower! Oh, I'll get him for this. Those new $250 hiking boots of his, they are CHEW TOYS! Aaaaggghhhh!!"
I'm glad the corgis were treated well and you were able to provide us with this enriching video. I'm sure my Daisy was treated differently as we flew Delta and instead of taking her carrier into the airport we had to drop her off at the cargo building. Looking recently at American airline pet deaths, I feel lucky that Daisy survived the flight because Delta had the second highest number of pet deaths after Continental.