You’re flying back to your home country and want to do something good with your flight? Why not become a flight volunteer and help an animal on its journey to a new home? In this article I’ll show you how you can do a good deed with a flight and only small effort – how you can become a flight volunteer.
What does it mean being a flight volunteer?
Being a flight volunteer basically means that you booked a flight and you take on some additional baggage. You’re bringing an animal, usually a dog or cat, to its new home. And it is as simple as it sounds. The only thing you need is a flight. The rescue organization takes care of payment, planning and paperwork. The reason why flight volunteers are needed is that it’s much cheaper than using third-party shippers. Without flight volunteers many furry friends wouldn’t be able to make it to their new homes. I myself have never heard about flight volunteering and didn’t know it was so easy. It’s a great thing – many many people in the world are taking flights every day so why not give animals a better life at the same time?
How it works
Let me tell you about my experience. Adopt a Furry Friend Koh Phangan posted on Facebook that they were looking for people who have a flight to Europe. As I already had a flight booked from Bangkok to Frankfurt, I sent them a message. All they needed was my personal and flight details – with that information they contacted the airline and booked extra baggage (two dogs) on my flight.
In my case the animals were from Koh Phangan. One of them was likely to be killed and the other one was found on the street and the people who found him wanted to take him back to the UK. Due to a delay of paperwork and vaccination plus the Corona chaos, the dogs couldn’t go with them, and had to stay on the island a bit longer.
Here are four ways to do good while traveling.
Meeting the dogs at the airport
Between my message and the actual flight date I didn’t have to do anything. The organization prepared all the paperwork, managed the communication with the airline and connected me with the adopters. On the day of the flight I met the agent and the two dogs at the airport. The whole check-in process took 1-1.5 hours, so it was good that we met three hours prior to the departure. I can’t really tell you more because that was basically the first and the last time I saw the dogs before arriving in Germany. The agent gave me the paperwork, took care of the payment and wished me a good flight. 16 hours later we arrived in Frankfurt, I picked up my luggage and then the dogs at the bulky luggage area. I took them through customs (they had a quick look at the paperwork) and handed them over to their adopters. They were so happy and grateful to finally see their dogs again – and that made my day. With so little, I created so much joy.
All I had to do was send an email.
This is a list of airlines that accept dogs – but it’s best to get in touch with the organization as they can tell you for sure.
- Air France
- ANA (All Nippon Air)
- Austrian Airlines
- China Airlines
- JAL (Japanese Airlines)
- Korean Air
- Thai Airways
Volunteering while traveling. How does that work?
Give it a try
All in all it’s super easy to become a flight volunteer and in my opinion it’s definitely a great thing to do. Of course you can argue whether it’s good for the animal to go through such a stressful journey and if their future life is actually going to be better or not. But I think many animals will be given another chance with hopefully less suffering – and that’s why it’s worth it.
So… got a flight booked? Check out if there are organizations in the country of destination and get in touch with them!