On Saturday Ellie and Macy were scheduled to have a vet appointment to get a check-up, their necessary shots, and a rabies antibody blood test, all necessary for them to travel with us. To get ready I called the airline on Wednesday to confirm that this was everything we needed. The very fast speaking representative went over all of the information with me and everything was looking good. In informed him that Ellie would be flying as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) and asked him to double check the requirements for this to be sure we had everything in order. He agreed that we in fact had everything we needed to get her out of the country but then proceeded to tell me that she would not be considered an ESA at our layover in Soel, Korea. Once there she would need to ride underneath the plane in the cargo area. I was blown away that this fact never came up in any other conversation with the airline. Finishing our conversation I researched for some time with the Air Carrier Access Act and other airlines to find out if this was the norm. I also, emailed the airline to get a second opinion on the topic.
Unfortunately all of the information came out being in line with what the representative had said. Ellie would only be recognized as an ESA on a flight to or from the US, as soon as we step off the first plane she is just any other animal. Kim and I had been doing all of this work because we have heard the horror stories of animals not making it to their destination. Many animals die in the cargo area due to the extreme heat that is unavoidable on the tarmac (while the plane is waiting to take off or waiting to unload). With even a small chance that Ellie would not make it to Burma it was not even a choice for us to take her over with us.
Not being able to have our whole family with us has really been tearing us apart and began to sour us to the move. This is really unfortunate because until now we have only had one emotion: excited! Luckily we have an amazing family and Ellie will be staying with Kim's parents while we are gone. We are very grateful to have a home for her where we know she will be just as adored as she is with us.