Pressurization in the aircraft hold: why it is dangerous for animals

Transporting pets in the cargo hold of airplanes is a topic of much concern among pet owners. One of the main aspects to consider is the issue of pressurization. In this article we will discuss the risks associated with pressurization in the aircraft hold and provide some useful information for anyone considering traveling with their pet.

Pressurization in the aircraft hold

What is Pressurization?

  • Aircraft pressurization is the process of Maintaining cabin and hold internal pressure at a comfortable and safe level For passengers and crew. This is crucial since at high altitudes the atmospheric pressure is significantly lower than at sea level, which could cause respiratory problems and other complications.

Pressurized hold vs. Non-Pressurized

  • Most modern commercial aircraft have cargo holds that are pressurized along with the passenger cabin. However in the cargo hold, the temperature may vary equally and not be regulated as in the passenger cabin.
  • In some older aircraft or certain types of aircraft, the cargo hold may not be pressurized, but this is a virtually impossible eventuality in commercial flights designed to transport passengers and animals.

Respiratory and Pressure Problems

  • Even if the hold is pressurized, the pressure will still be lower than at sea level. This can be problematic for animals with pre-existing respiratory difficulties and for those brachycephalic breeds (such as bulldogs or Persian cats), which already suffer more from pressure surges,

Temperature changes during ground operations

  • Internal temperatures in cargo holds, even in pressurized ones, generally are less controllable than in the passenger cabin and animals may be exposed to temperature swings, especially during the loading and unloading of the aircraft.

Loss of Pressurization

  • This is the most serious and potentially lethal eventuality. In extremely rare cases, should a loss of pressurization animals in the hold would be in danger.

Safety Measures for the Transport of Animals

Unfortunately, traveling in a cage, inside the cargo hold of an airliner, is not the best for our four-legged traveling friends. Although airlines are careful about animal welfare, ensuring safe flights, this experience is always quite stressful for them. To make our animal friends’ journey as comfortable as possible, follow these tips:

Consult the veterinarian

  • Before traveling, it is essential to consult a veterinarian to make sure the animal is healthy and fit to fly. The veterinarian can provide advice on how to manage stress and what sedatives, if any, might be used.

Use an appropriate cage

  • The cage should be large enough for the animal to move and stand.

Choose a direct flight

  • To minimize the time the animal spends in the cargo hold and loading and unloading time, it is advisable to choose direct flights whenever possible.

Rely on a major airline

  • Not all airlines offer the same level of service for transporting animals. It is important to choose a company with a good reputation for handling animals and ensuring pressurized and air-conditioned holds.

The risks of transporting pets in the cargo hold of airliners

Pressurization is not the only health problem for pets forced to travel crammed into the cargo holds of airliners,

we have already covered it in this article

. Loneliness, loud noises and vibrations during takeoff and landing, and panic caused by the presence of so many other constrained animals can also constitute
A real torture for pets.

Although traveling with pets in the cargo hold of airplanes can pose some risks, many of these can be managed with good preparation and by choosing appropriate airlines. Making sure the animal is healthy and well prepared for travel can help reduce stress and ensure a safe flight. Finally, it should be specified that animal deaths in aircraft holds are in sharp decline, thanks to improvements in hold conditions.