Importing a pet cat

#1
Does anyone have any suggestions for avoiding/reducing the Cargo Clearance EZE Airport fee for importing a pet cat? We were planning on shipping the cat as "live animal cargo" via Continental Airlines one day before our own arrival and letting a representative from Las Lunas pet moving service clear him through customs and board him for one day until we arrive. We were quoted US$685 plus other charges to do this. Is there possibly any other alternative to this?
 
#2
Is there a particular reason why you want to send the cat ahead of you by one day? That price seems ridiculously high.I came here with two dogs (they flew in the same plane with me) and paid:1. To the airline--$100 per dog2. To Argentine customs--approximately $13 per dogI don't understand what the $685 is supposed to cover.Oh, and it took me about 5 minutes to get them through customs. I just showed them the forms I already had from the USDA (you probably already know that you need to get a USDA certificate of health before you leave the country, assuming you're coming from the US), paid my money and walked right through. It's remarkably easy. You don't need anyone to help you do it. If you have any more questions, please feel free to send me a note.
 
#3
Thanks for your comments, Slush. I just assumed it would be better to send the cat on ahead of us to avoid potential hassles. I was told by the airlines (Continental) that there are no guarantees regarding whether or not they will allow the cat to be checked as excess baggage or even air cargo for that matter with us and that even with reservations that they reserve the right to disallow him up until three days before departure and some have said even at the time of actual check-in. Given the delicate time sensitivity of the documents required to get him into the country and the uncertainity of the availability of another flight the next day or whenever I felt uncomfortable with all these contingencies. Yes, we would be flying from Northern California to BA.
 
#4
I also flew from Northern California. I flew American Airlines and they told me that there were two potential problems in terms of getting the dogs on the flight:1. if, on the day of the flight, the temperature was above or below certain limits in any of the stops, they wouldn't let the dogs fly. I don't remember what the temperatures were nor do I know whether these temperatures are different for cats, but the airline should be able to tell you. I flew in March and went through Miami, instead of Chicago or New York, to avoid possible temperatures below the lower limit. It was fine, but it could have been a problem if it was really hot in Miami or BA on that day. But I don't see how having Las Lunas in charge would change that. 2. They couldn't guarantee me a spot in the baggage section for the dogs. They said that it was 1st come, 1st served and if there were lots of pets that day, my dogs might not get on. But they said that rarely, if ever, happens. I suppose it could be a problem if there was a group of people flying to a dog or cat show on your flight, but that seems pretty unlikely. I don't know whether Continental's policies are the same. But, again, I don't see how Las Lunas' involvement would change things. The only reason to involve Las Lunas is for troubles once you reach Buenos Aires. And based on my experience, as long as you have the proper documentation from the USDA, it will not be a problem. Just in case the rules have changed, give the Argentine Embassy in DC or LA a call. I'm actually apalled that Las Lunas was quoting you that price. I cannot for the life of me imagine what "services" would call for such a large amount.
 
#5
I have done extensive posts on my blog about moving with your pets. American Airlines IS THE WORST in my opinion. They recommended I buy my tickets and then call them back and book my pets, which as Slush mentioned is not guaranteed. Only they never bothered to tell me that. After a horrible day dealing with them, I finally took a bread, did some research, and found out about Delta's pet policy. Delta allows the following in their cabins per flight: two small pets in economy, one small pet in business, and one small pet in first class. Not only was I able to get our two cats in the cabin with us, but we also have guaranteed space in the luggage compartment for the dogs. I would recommend Delta as an excellent option. They have very good pet policies and have been extremely understanding to deal with.
p.s. keep in mind there's usually a pet embargo on most flights originating or ending in the U.S. from May 15th until sometime in September.
email me at zurrolaur@yahoo.fr if you have any questions.
Good luck!