How to Get a Large Breed Dog to Costa Rica


Just thought since I referenced this on my main page, I would quickly tell how we did it… IN MAY 2014 SO PELASE 2X CHECK with the airline on your own, at least 3 times on different days and times, so get the answers from 3 different people to make sure you are getting the right info.  We flew our dog united, but now they re linked with continental I believe.

American is supposed to be more lax- the head cannot touch the ceiling of the crate and they have to have enough room to turn around and lay comfortably.

United more strict, but has an actual pet policy that most people prefer and has highest rate of NON incidence.

A dog that is over 20 lbs with its carrying case flies cargo in a hard crate.  A dog in its carrying case that weighs 20 lbs or under can fly in passenger area on many airlines for a fee and does NOT need to go through customs in Costa Rica.

COST OF TICKET 20 lbs + – The weight of the dog WITH the crate determines that cost of the ticket.  It also means that you need to get the dog through customs in Costa Rica and will need a customs agent, unless you know someone here who can go get to San Jose and get the forms, fill out the right forms, and bring them to the airport when you arrive to process the dog through customs.

CUSTOMS Airport cargo area in SJO is NOT air-conditioned so dogs are not allowed to fly in if it is going to be over 85 degrees upon arrival.  That being said, when we got to the airport in newark NJ, they checked the temp for SJO on their iPhone at 4am, for the PRESENT temp, and let him go.

CRATE SIZE Most airplanes flying into Costa Rica internationally are a Boeing blah blah blah.  It is NOT the big Boeing and the reason you want to know this is that they have a cargo door that is only 34 inches tall.  SO if you have a 30 inch dog, that needs 3 inches head room, and the crates only come in size 30 and 35, you have the same problem we did.

crate too small for dog

crate too big for plane

Take the 30 inch crate.  Go to home depot.  But a 3×3 piece of wood, and build it between the top and bottom of your crate.

All the screws must be metal.

The dogs tail and head cannot come out any space (well lets be real, the metal frame door across the front can certainly allow a tail to escape, but this is the way they say it on the airline’s webpage so I am saying the same thing).

Best of luck!!!!!


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