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I am going to book an international flight via Turkish Airlines. The flight has a 22 hours layover. I can buy the ticket for my dog and my self at the same time through the airline website. So this is not through an independent cargo company, and my dog is accepted as a checked baggage.

Will they let the dog out of the crate during that long layover, and will they take care of him in terms of his toilet, water to drink, and food?

As the layover is too long, I think the airline should take care of the dog in the mean time. Ethically, that is their duty. Otherwise, they should not accept the dog in the first place. But I couldn’t find the relevant information anywhere on the airline website.

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    Checked baggage is cargo, as far as I know.
    – keshlam
    Mar 17 at 12:51
  • Did you try to call the helping hotline of the airline to ask this questions? And if you write "if they let..." this means, you are not with the dog at this time, right? Mar 17 at 20:02
  • @keshlam "cargo" could also be meant as "not a flight with passengers" instead of "checked luggage and passengers" at the flight. Mar 17 at 20:05
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    Ahm is still add the concerns of whether the hold is pressurized and heated, whether the animal gets care at appropriate intervals (I suspect not unless you make special arrangements to do so at layovers), and if course how long the quarantine period is for an animal coming into a new country (depending on animal and country, it can be weeks or more at each final destination). Personally I wouldn't bring the dog unless it was a necessary service animal or you were going to be in the destination country for half a year or longer; I'd look for friends willing to care for it.
    – keshlam
    Mar 17 at 20:52
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    @keshlam If an airline knows that they'll transport an animal (by booked ticket), they must heat and pressurize their cargo compartment. However, how they handle the animal in layover time is not regulated, as far as I know. I honestly doubt they'll let the animal out of the carrier, because you never know if it's aggressive or anxious enough to attack or run away from staff. I think it's best to call the airline directly and ask them. It's probably possible that you can retrieve the dog during layover (like you can retrieve a wheelchair or baby carrier / pram).
    – Elmy
    Mar 18 at 6:21

2 Answers 2

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This is a lot of assumption, but it was hinted at me that I should write it down as an answer...

TL;DR: call the airline and ask them for their individual procedures and rules.

There are some regulations for the transport of live animals, but not everything is regulated. Some examples:

  • There are international regulations about the size, equipment (food & water containers) and ventilation openings of pet carriers for air travel. Airlines can and will refuse to transport live animals if the carrier doesn't fulfill all requirements.
  • If the airline knows that it will be transporting a live animal, it must make sure the cargo compartment is pressurized and heated during the flight.

However, there doesn't seem to be a regulated procedure about how animals are handled before the aircraft takes off (like transport to and loading into the aircraft) and after it lands (unloading and retrieval by the owners, etc).

I highly doubt that any airline personell will directly interact with the animal in any way. If they let a dog out of the carrier to go for a potty walk or clean the carrier, there is no way of telling if the dog might attack them or flee or hurt itself or a thousand other possibilities. Personell will only ever interact with the carrier, not with the animal itself.

However, from experience of traveling with a disabled person, I know that there is "normal" cargo and "priority" cargo. Priority cargo usually includes all manners of mobility aids like wheelchairs, walking frames, baby carriers or prams that passengers need access to on a long overlay. They are loaded into the aircraft last and unloaded first, so they also appear first at the luggage carousels. It's possible that live animals are considered priority cargo as well and can be retrieved at the start of the overlay. But I don't know this for sure and you have to ask the airline for their individual policies.

It's best to get any and all information in writing, just to be sure.

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    + "in writing" . A paper trail is useful Mar 18 at 18:37
  • The airline said they let the dog out cuz the layover is about 22 hours. But I still have the consideration you mentioned, like if they can have the dog back in the create or where they will keep the dog during the layover, etc. So, no choice but to trust them!!
    – Sasan
    Mar 28 at 14:58
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Thank you for your comments and answers. I managed to ask the airline about my concern after I asked the question here. They said that my dog will be let out of the crate and will be taken care of during the layover.

I also asked several cargo companies, and they all said that they will let the dog out during the layover. Actually, one of these companies told me that even when the flight is not that long, they will send the animal with an earlier first flight, so that the animal get some time to be out of the crate in the midway airport, and then they send him to the destination with the same second flight as the owner, so they both get to the destination airport with the same flight and at the same time.

Well, I still have some concerns that mentioned in some comments and answers, but I guess now I have to trust the airline.

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    Thank you for coming back with this information. When your flight is done, you can use the edit button and add your experience to your answer Mar 28 at 15:35

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