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Return to US during Covid HELP!

I am looking for an American citizen or resident to accompany me and my dogs to the USA! I came to Spain for three months in February and stayed during lockdown. Now, my tourist visa is set to expire soon. Delta and most airlines require one passenger per pet. I was planning (before Covid struck) to have my son come over to Spain and accompany me and the dogs back to the States. Americans are not allowed to enter Spain at present. I could ship the dogs in the hold, but it is expensive and I'm scared to do it. I'd much rather have them in the cabin with me, the way we normally fly, so I'm kind of stuck here until I can find someone already here to accompany me back. I have exhausted many avenues for assistance already - pleading with Delta, the US embassy, expat websites, friends of friends...so if you can help me or know anyone who can, please get in touch. I am prepared to buy a ticket for whoever will go with me. Thank you. -- Susie

Posted by
2961 posts

I can see this is very stressful for you. I hope you find the help you need.

Have you considered using a pet transport company?

Posted by
11569 posts

Susie, if you were traveling on the standard 3-month/90 day visa waiver, it should have run out in May. You managed to get an extension? And I'm curious how you managed to get both (I'm assuming there are two) dogs to Spain by yourself via under-seat cabin kennels in the first place?

According to Delta's website, shipping via cargo hold is not an option as that service has been temporarily discontinued.

https://www.delta.com/us/en/pet-travel/shipping-your-pet

As suggested above, if you can't find an American eligible under current policy able to accompany you - and I think it's a very long shot that you will - consider a pet shipping service. I don't have any personal experience with this one, just throwing it out as an example:

https://www.airanimal.com/blog/petsaremovingnewcovidpetmovingfaqs.cfm

You might also try a different airline? You'd have to check available flights for United but it appears they permit an additional pet in the cabin, for a price, as long as it fits in a kennel under the seat, and they don't mention a limit of one pet per traveler. It would mean eating the cost of your return ticket(s) on Delta, if that's what you're working with, but it could be an option?

https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/animals/in-cabin.html

If you want to bring aboard an additional pet, you’ll need to buy an
extra ticket for that pet and pay an additional $125 each way. Your
pet must also always remain in the floor space under the seat.

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you for the responses. I will definitely check out the FB expat pages.

My 90 day tourist visa was automatically extended by 90 days from the date that the State of Alarm in Spain ended (June 21), so until about September 20.

I flew to Barcelona with the two dogs and my daughter. She spent 10 days with me and then returned to NYC, prior to any Covid lockdowns. My plan was that she would help me on the way over and my son would come and help me on the way back, but now Covid is preventing that part of my plan!!

I am aware of the pet transport companies and I have spoken with several. I may engage one of them, but as a last resort. I really, really want my pets to fly with me in the cabin if there is any possible way to do so.

I am aware that United will allow me to travel with two pets if I purchase an additional passenger ticket. I believe, however, that none of the flights out of Barcelona are operated by United, and therefore would not allow the second pet, but this is something I will check out. Also, there are no non-stop flights out of Barcelona on United, which I prefer so that the dogs do not have to travel so long in their cages.

I"m holding out for a companion to leave with me from Barcelona on Delta, but if that fails, I will resort to United out of Paris, which would be a little difficult, or a pet transport service, which will make me nervous. Thanks, all -- Susie

Posted by
11569 posts

Ah, thanks for the additional info. It makes sense now how you got there and how you've managed to stay so long. I've a hunch that you're going to have to compromise on some of your travel preferences but good luck with the journey home and do let us know how it all turned out?

Posted by
10 posts

Will do!!

I was trying to keep my explanation brief, even though my story is not!! Thanks again. -- Susie

Posted by
11569 posts

Susie, it's very possible I'm overlooking something, as I've only checked a handful of August/Sept dates, but if you're traveling Barcelona>NYC (any city airport), I'm not seeing any non-stop flights offered by any of the airlines at all. You know for sure that Delta offers one?

Posted by
6234 posts

I am prepared to buy a ticket for whoever will go with me.

Does this mean the round trip for the volunteer, or just the Europe to US leg?

I have not done the research, but where can someone from the US land in Europe that you can get to, so you can meet up? Its easier to get a volunteer if you get the answer to this so you can ask I need a volunteer to meet me at 'X' and fly back to the US with a dog crate in your seat's foot space.

Do the airlines require a person per dog, or a seat per dog? If you have 2 dogs, you take up 2 seats foot space, so it it obvious you cannot take 2 dogs and have your dog take up someone else's under seat foot space.

Its easier to get a volunteer, if they do not have to do a lot of work to be able to volunteer

Good Luck!

Posted by
11569 posts

Susie, did you look at Lufthansa (United's Star Alliance partner)? They appear to fly Barcelona> NYC although not non-stop. The website doesn't mention a limit on cabin pets. It might be worth contacting their Service Center? Again, unless I'm missing something (very possible) I'm not seeing any flights at all from Barcelona non-stop to NYC in the near future.

https://www.lufthansa.com/us/en/travelling-with-animals

If at all helpful....
SkyTeam Alliance (Delta code-share partners):
https://www.skyteam.com/en/flights-and-destinations

Star Alliance (United code-share partners):
https://www.staralliance.com/en/

Editing to add: Joe, Delta's restriction is 1 pet per passenger, if traveling in the cabin.
https://www.delta.com/us/en/pet-travel/international-connection-pet-travel

Posted by
10 posts

Kathy - Delta most certainly did have nonstop flights from BCN to JFK and when I look at their website for Sept. 20, the ideal day for me to fly, there is one nonstop flight.

I will check with Lufthansa to see if they will let me use the United policy of buying an extra seat for the extra dog.

I was thinking of offering the ticket for one way only because I thought it would need to be someone already here. No US citizen can come into the EU, except for Great Britain (no longer part of the EU) and then they would be required to quarantine for 14 days. Coming from Spain, I also would need to quarantine for 14 days in the UK, so it seems a really complicated and expensive option.

Ideally, there is an American here in Spain who may be headed back to the US in the next month or so, who would benefit from the free one-way ticket, and/or be willing to volunteer to take a dog onboard.

Just searching for a person!!

Posted by
170 posts

Have you thought of or have access to any off duty airline employees that could help you!

Posted by
10 posts

Debbie - an off-duty airline employee would be great, but I have no idea how to go about finding that person. The airlines only allow a few dogs in cabin per flight, so it's necessary to book ahead. I can't just show up at the airport and hope to find someone. Also, when booking, I have to have a name for the passenger associated with the second dog. It's a good idea, but I don't know where to begin...

Posted by
5436 posts

No US citizen can come into the EU,

This isn’t correct.

Any U.S. citizen who is a legal resident of the EU can come in to the EU.

Posted by
10 posts

Jerri - do the two pets need to travel in the same pet carrier in the cabin? I will contact Lufthansa. Thank you.

Kim - yes, I know that a US citizen that is an EU resident can come into the EU, but I don't know anyone like that and it seems even more difficult to find than a US citizen who is in the EU right now. Any volunteer I have contact with is a US citizen/not EU resident. I'm not sure how I would find anyone like that. I had one potential brother of a friend, but because of Covid has decided not to travel.

Thanks!

Posted by
1509 posts

Have you called Delta? Because I think if you do buy a second seat they might let you have the second pet carrier. You are not going to be able to do this over any Internet booking and you’re probably not going to get a good answer if you call the Spanish office you’re going to have to call the United States to get this information. Good luck

You might try FlyerTalk There’s an entire forum they’re dedicated to travel with pets and it’s generally pretty knowledgeable travelers

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-pets-645/

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks, Carol. I have talked with Delta several times. I really thought they could make an exception under the circumstances, but I've gotten nowhere. I will check on flyertalk! Thank you!!

Posted by
11569 posts

Delta most certainly did have nonstop flights from BCN to JFK and when
I look at their website for Sept. 20,

OK, I didn't look that far out so that's why I didn't see it. If the 20th is the last day you can remain in Spain on your visa, I'd check earlier flights so as not to risk an overstay should that flight be cancelled for some reason. But you'll need have Plan B options anyway if you can't find someone who can fill a Delta seat with Dog #2.