On Sunday, October 15th, I flew with two cats from Amsterdam to Bucharest. We are currently staying in a pet friendly Airbnb in the capital of Romania and in this blog post, I want to share with you my experience with flying with cats. More specifically, we were flying with KLM from Schiphol Airport to Otopeni Airport in Bucharest (Henri Coandă București). This is my second experience flying with KLM and in fact, KLM is the only airline I’ve flown with so far.
Why I chose KLM for flying with cats
To fly with my two cats, I had one important condition: I wanted to keep my cats with me at all times during the travel. So I wanted to bring the cats in-cabin with me. Therefore, finding a pet friendly airline that allowed me to bring my cats inside the cabin was super important. Luckily, in Europe, a lot of airlines allow you to bring your cats in-cabin with you.
Lufthansa or Turkish Airlines were also candidates, but Lufthansa only offered a connecting flight and Turkish Airlines was fully booked. So that left us with KLM, and since our first experience with this airline was just fine, we figured we should go for them again.
At Schiphol Airport
Prior to flying with my cats, I did a lot of research on what to expect. One concern of mine was how the security check would go at Schiphol Airport. I read stories of people saying that they had to hold their cat in their arms and walk into the body scanner, and were even asked to show the palms of their hands while still holding the cat!
Yeah. How about no.
Tommy is so scared, there would be a huge chance he was gonna bolt. So I tried to inform myself about a private screening area. This seemed possible at Schiphol Airport, so that was a relief. But I figured we’d just see when we get there. I assumed everything was going to be okay and no cats would get lost inside the airport.
At the check-in, we were asked to put the cats individually on the luggage belt to weigh them in their carriers.
We also had to show their passports, which were carefully checked.
After we passed security, it was time for the cats to get checked. A friendly man and younger woman took me and the cats to a small cabin. And when I say small, I mean really small. Small enough to get everything done and to make sure that, should a cat escape from your grip, you can easily pick him or her up again.
I first took Tommy out of his carrier. He, erm, soiled himself unfortunately. So the woman got herself some gloves to check Tommy under his harness, while the man took the soft carrier and brought it to the security scanner.
Needless to say, everything was fine and I could put Tommy back into his carrier. Yeah, he didn’t like that, but we still had a few more hours to go after all.
Then it was Ricky’s turn. She was so scared… she was hugging the corner of her carrier, not even looking anywhere. I sadly had to drag her out carefully and again, the man took the carrier to the scanner and the woman check under and around her harness.
That was it. This took maybe 5 minutes and it was done. Ricky wasn’t happy to be put back into her carrier, but I had no choice.
Securityy at Otopeni Airport, Bucharest
Once arrived at Otopeni Airport Airport in Bucharest, Romania after a pleasant flight with KLM, we transitioned through security very smoothly with no issues.
Cost of flying with cats
In case you are interested, KLM charged us 125 euro per cat to travel with us for 2 hours and 40 minutes in-cabin. In comparison, since we initially wanted to go to The Philippines, flying with KLM to the Philippines would have been 200 euros per cat for the 17 hour long journey. So in relation, I find the cost extremely high.
But hey, what other options did I have? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Tommy does NOT enjoy car rides (or any form of travel…) so taking him on a 24 hour car ride to Romania would not have sat well with him. It is my duty as his caretaker to shorten the duration of his distress as much as possible. So I cough up the costs, even if they are ridiculously high.
Did you know?
One fascinating fact about the Netherlands revolves around Schiphol Airport, often associated with Amsterdam. However, it might come as a surprise that they are distinct entities. Schiphol Airport, one of the busiest airports in Europe, is located southwest of Amsterdam. Schiphol serves as the primary international gateway to the Netherlands and plays a major role in connecting the country with the world.
While Schiphol is located in close proximity to the city of Amsterdam, it is, in fact, part of the municipality of Haarlemmermeer. Amsterdam, on the other hand, is the capital of the Netherlands and a vibrant city known for its rich history, culture, and canals. So, when you step off your plane at Schiphol Airport, you’re not in the heart of Amsterdam but just a stone’s throw away from it.