A week ago, I took my first flight with Crush. Crush and I have been a team for a year and a half. We have an unbreakable bond with each other and work together well. Despite that, I was still quite nervous to fly with him. I get anxious flying regardless of additional obstacles. Flying with Crush was going to be a beast of its own. That being said, here are some tips that made my life easier. Spoiler alert: our trip went great! Crush was a dream and I didn’t have a single problem the entire time.
- Make Calls
I called the airline, hotel, etc. I made sure everyone knew that I was flying/staying with Crush. That way, I didn’t have opposition when I arrived. I got no push back from anyone. The airline had me fill out their federal form. They also bumped my seat to Comfort plus to give Crush the room he needed on the flight. I’m so grateful they did this because he fit so well with the extra room. I’d suggest calling early to ensure that they have seats left for you to move up. This was completely free to me. It’s considered an accommodation so they can’t charge you for it.
I feel incredibly lucky that with Can Do Canines I was able to participate in the flight to nowhere. It was essentially a practice run of going through the airport and getting on a plane with your service dog. Even if I didn’t have this experience, there are other ways to practice. It’s helpful to put chairs together to have your dog practice in a small space to get under the seat. Crush did pretty well, he fit perfectly but he did take up all of my leg room.
- Know the Space
I would get to know the airport ahead of time. This helps calm my mind as far as where the bathroom is for Crush. I knew the Minneapolis airport well but the Denver airport was confusing. I didn’t check ahead of time to find the bathrooms and it’s the one regret I have. Luckily, Crush didn’t have any accidents and it wasn’t an issue but it’s something to take note of. There’s an app, Working like dogs, Where to go, that tells you where these bathrooms are in the airport. Otherwise, the apps for airlines usually have maps of airports.
- Manage Food and Water Intake
I have a routine with Crush. Before he works on any given day, he goes to the bathroom at least twice. I make him do this to ensure he doesn’t have any accidents on duty. I’ve never had a problem if he’s done this. Flying was no different. The flight was short and I wasn’t concerned about the time we’d be flying. I did stop giving him water in the morning, just to be sure but otherwise I didn’t change a thing. If I were flying with him over eight hours, I would’ve stopped his food the night before. It just depends on your needs.
These are just a few tips that I would give a first time flyer with a service dog. It went like a breeze for me. I largely attribute that to Crush’s training and the experience at Can Do Canines but that being said, I definitely could’ve prepared in other ways. It was a great trip and Crush was a dream the entire time. Let me know how your flight goes!
I hope you’re having a great day. I hope your day is filled with joy, positivity, and laughter. I hope you find peace, love, and happiness.