Cat Export – Complete! But… Minor Disaster At The Airport!

BradleyCats & Dogs11 Comments

Cats in Changi Airport

So, the great saga of exporting cats from Singapore is now complete, but it ended in near disaster.

Everything was going great.  We got up on time.  We got to the airport on time.  The Philippine Airlines attendants saw us in the line and pulled us into the business class line to have the cats taken care of.  We wound up paying 330 SGD for the cats to get on the plane.  The rate was about 20.50 SGD per kilogram.

Then, they were tagged and wheeled away in their carriers.  We were assured that they would be taken good care of.  I’m not sure where things went wrong, but I think it must have been with the ground crew that loads the planes.

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We were already on board and seated when we looked out the window and saw one of those baggage trucks with the cat carriers pulled up alongside the plane.  I even took a photo, thinking it was neat that we had such good seats for watching them get put on the plane.

That’s when disaster struck.  We saw a guy holding up a broken carrier.  The carrier was broken in the middle.  I don’t know how they managed to do it, other than to think that maybe they put something too heavy on top of the carrier and it caused it to fall apart.  Why would they be putting something heavy on top of a cat carrier that has a live animal in it in the first place?

A guy bolted out of view, presumably chasing Marble.

I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  I put all that effort into securing my pet’s passage to the Philippines and she almost ran off into the airport somewhere, to meet who knows what kind of fate.  I ran back out of the plane and into the boarding area to ask the women there just what was going on.  I told them what the situation was, and that I saw the empty carrier and pressured them to get everything taken care of.

My wife called me on my mobile from her seat in the plane and said that she saw them bringing the carrier back with Marble inside of it.  The attendant then talked to someone on her walkie-talkie and confirmed what my wife had said.  So, relieved, I went back down the boarding ramp and back to my seat.

That wasn’t the end of the drama though.

There was some banging around under the plane and I started to wonder just what the hell they were doing to my cats.  Then, about 5 minutes later they began to unload all of the cargo from the plane.  They had broken the carrier again and Marble was running amok under the plane.

I offered to go under the plane myself and secure the carrier because I figured I’d have an easier time of it than they would, but they said that for security reasons they couldn’t let me do that.  So, we sat there.  Eventually the pilot made an announcement about why we were still sitting there 30 minutes after the plane was supposed to have taken off, and everyone got a good laugh out of it, but I didn’t think it was all that amusing.  I was worried about my cat.

At about 11:30 AM, 45 minutes after the plane was supposed to take off, they finally had Marble secured in her carrier, the cargo reloaded and they were closing the plane doors.

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I spent the entire flight worrying about how my cats were.  After a fiasco like that, I didn’t have much confidence in the airline’s ability to handle my pets properly.

Thankfully, things went incredibly smoothly in Manila.  We rushed off the plane to the baggage area, but our cats still beat us to the baggage claim area.  It seems like NAIA knows what ‘Priority’ tags mean.  It means take care with these animals, and move them along quickly, rather than put heavy stuff on the carrier and crack it open.

By the way, this is what the carrier looked like after the ‘fix’ at Changi Airport:

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Anyway, the paperwork was done in a matter of minutes.  We didn’t even have to take the cats anywhere.  The workers came to us and helped us get through the paperwork while I was pulling our luggage off the carousel.  That’s some good service!

The cats were a little terrified, but when we got into the taxi the quiet and the air conditioning put them right to sleep, all the way to Antipolo.

Stay tuned for more updates on how the cats are adjusting to their new home!

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11 Comments on "Cat Export – Complete! But… Minor Disaster At The Airport!"

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Brad F.
My cats are too much of a handful to have in a basket inside the cabin. They really have to be put in a carrier when they're out. They're house cats and they get very scared around strangers and try to bolt. I'm still upset about this whole thing with Philippines Airlines, but there was a decent resolution to the incident that I haven't gotten around to posting yet. Pretty soon my cats will be flying with me to the US on Singapore Airlines. Hopefully the trip will be better this time. It's good to see that your family cares… Read more »
Dashaman

thats sad what happened to your kitties, i remember my mom who is working in taif, KSA. he brought home her family of cats, she have them on baskets secured, 1 pegnant cat, 2 kittens inside a basket and she was allowed to hand carry them inside the passenger area, just beside her seat. that was a flight from KSA to Philippines. ofcourse same clearance stuff, and extra fare for the kitties.

Dashaman

thats sad what happened to your kitties, i remember my mom who is working in taif, KSA. he brought home her family of cats, she have them on baskets secured, 1 pegnant cat, 2 kittens inside a basket and she was allowed to hand carry them inside the passenger area, just beside her seat. that was a flight from KSA to Philippines. ofcourse same clearance stuff, and extra fare for the kitties.

Brad F.
We really appreciated her help in loaning us the carrier, so before leaving we wanted to give her the one extra we had. It wasn't flight-worthy because it was missing a pad and a feeding dish and it wasn't ventilated enough. It worked really well for local use though. I hope someone can benefit from it! I'm slowly working on a comprehensive step-by-step guide for exporting cats from Singapore to the Philippines, which I'll be publishing on EverythingButBalot.com, which is my Philippines blog. We've been so busy that I haven't found time yet to do it, because it's something I… Read more »
Brad F.
We really appreciated her help in loaning us the carrier, so before leaving we wanted to give her the one extra we had. It wasn't flight-worthy because it was missing a pad and a feeding dish and it wasn't ventilated enough. It worked really well for local use though. I hope someone can benefit from it! I'm slowly working on a comprehensive step-by-step guide for exporting cats from Singapore to the Philippines, which I'll be publishing on EverythingButBalot.com, which is my Philippines blog. We've been so busy that I haven't found time yet to do it, because it's something I… Read more »
cw

Dear Brad
Just sent you a msg on facebook to help a Myanmar lady send her cats to Myanmar and just realised you are already in the Philippines. I told SY of the adventures of Marble and asked her read your blog. She got the carriers you returned.

Brad F.

Ya, it was a pretty stressful flight. We were both really anxious to get off the plane in Manila to check on the cats. Luckily, she was in good shape and didn't seem to be hurt, despite her ordeal. She was even the first to go to sleep during the taxi ride. She's a pro at playing things off like she's not bothered.

Brad F.

Ya, it was a pretty stressful flight. We were both really anxious to get off the plane in Manila to check on the cats. Luckily, she was in good shape and didn't seem to be hurt, despite her ordeal. She was even the first to go to sleep during the taxi ride. She's a pro at playing things off like she's not bothered.

Brad F.

Pretty sure she was talking about us, but two clasps on one side of the carrier wouldn't magically pop off for no good reason.

Marble is doing fine, though she has tried a few escape attempts since we've gotten to my in-laws' house. I think she's still pining for the plot of land she had by the White Sands Mall in Pasir Ris. Poor thing. The other two love it here so far.

reesan

wow. what an ordeal. must have been a stressful flight for you.
amazing what some cheap gaffa tape can do though. makes cat carriers impenetrable. ^_^

ann

The woman behind the check in counter mentioned about a cat getting out of its carrier “recently', I asked her how recent? like yesterday? and she said last month! poor marble! glad he's ok.

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