Once upon a time, as a learning experience, people were tied to the front end of a canon and (after the loud bang) the results were not pretty. Similarly, I've been wading through the choices of getting from here to Slovenia without losing my dog. I have spent 3 days buried inside Dante's Online Hell.
My own personal Divine Comedy was leading me more and more toward Italy. Not Dante's birthplace (Florence), but Milan, which has numerous direct flights from JFK and numerous carriers just itching to transport Tyson in airborne comfort. Emirates has the cheapest tickets and I was cheered up sometime mid-Wednesday by checking the Emirates pet policy:
"Animals are not permitted in the cabin of Emirates flights, with the exception of falcons..."
I really really want to be on a plane with falcons. If I had a falcon on a plane I'd send it to first class when they were serving dinner to see what it came back with. Quail perhaps. Also, I don't think falcons add to the weight of the plane when they are flying, so there's probably no limit to the number of free-flying birds of prey on Emirates flights. Fantastic.
Unfortunately, once again, Tyson and his box exceed the weight limit and he would have to go as a horse. The wonderful people of Icelandair wrote back with a quote for sending Tyson as a horse and it's over 700 dollars (as opposed to $120 if he was eight pounds lighter). The price of Icelandair now comes out the same as other airlines, and there's a layover, so I've had to think again.
(Thank you nanny for the continuing encouragement. I feel bad about abandoning the helpful Icelandic staff, and to Murdo Morrison, author of Roses of Winter, who simply allowed me to talk things through).
It's such a shame that Tyson isn't eight pounds lighter or a falcon, because Emirates allows twice as much free baggage as anyone else (fitting your whole life into 23kg isn't easy), their tickets are cheap and it's a direct flight to Milan. If I went to check-in with Tyson on my arm and said "He's a falcon," I might get away with it, but I just don't want to take the risk. He has no primary feathers and, to be honest, even people who don't know much about animals can spot that he's mostly Labrador.
But still, I have settled on Milan as my first choice and Vienna as my second, with Air France all the way to Slovenia and the ghastly layover as my third choice. I have asked the vet to tell me what paperwork I need for Italy or Austria and now I'm sitting back, waiting. A good time to fly is the weekend of November 23rd, so I would a need an appointment with the vet and the USDA in Harrisburg any time between November 13th and November 22nd (they have to be within 10 days of flying).
Upon arrival in Milan I would slip into a luxury hire car and glide effortlessly toward the Alps, a mere 600km away. I'm sure that's what would happen. No, really. Either that or they won't give me the car on the grounds that I am travelling with a horse, or possibly a falcon, and we will be stranded in Italy. Sarah thinks the layover might be the way to go, but I'm still too scared to do it.
But still, I have options and I'm getting closer.
[ps...Have you tried the Armchair Detective Challenge yet?]
Slovenia, writing, other things