There may be times in which I do have to ship sugar gliders to customers. Shipping can be safe if professionally prepared ahead of time, and using a professional airline such as United or Delta Cargo.
I go by proper FAA regulations and procedures to make sure the animals are prepared safely and comfortably.
Generally, shipping gets underway early in the morning. This is done during their down time when they are naturally sleepy, so it’s not as hard on them as you may think.
It’s generally better for me to ship them and then to have them arrive the same evening to you. That way, you can have them safe and sound in your home by the time they are ready to be wide awake. In some cases, there is a time difference. You may be actually further ahead in time than me, so the gliders may think they still need more time to sleep. It’s kind of like jet lag in humans, but in a few weeks, they should get used to the new time zone.
The airlines do take very good care and place them by placing them on flights that have pet equipped sections on the planes. These are areas that are pressurized and heated and cooled as needed. They are taken there by a heated or cooled van and if they need to change planes at a different airport, they will be placed in a van there as well until they can be unloaded for the next flight. Once they get to your cargo office, they will be kept in a safe area by the staff until you arrive to get them.
I do live 3 hours from my nearest cargo office. Since most flights leave early in the morning, I will need to get a hotel room near the airport to make sure I have them booked on time. I have to book the animals 2 hours in advance of the flight, so for most flights, I am usually there at 4 or 5 AM. If we can use United, the fee will be $250 which includes their airfare, the crate and my hotel and gas fees. If we must use Delta, their charges change depending on what type of plane they use, and the airport they are going to. I will have to call them for a quote. Please make sure you give me the city and state that you live in so that I can find the closest cargo office and know which airline I will be able to use for you.
As far as international shipping, I can do Canadian Shipping only. For Canada, I can use Canada Air. Please tell me where you live so I can get you a proper shipping quote.
Shipping to Canada and other International destinations is expensive. It will be required that I obtain a health certificate from my vet in order to send them to out of the US. My vet currently charges $125 for a health certificate for a pair of gliders. You will be responsible on your end to find out what the duty charges will be. They will also need to be seen by the vet on duty in your country as well. You will need to call them to make an appointment once we have your flight days and arrival times. Sometimes, the vets do charge a fee if they have to come in after hours, but it’s something that must be done in order to have Customs clear them to leave the airport. I also have to obtain an Inspection from US Fish and Wildlife. My nearest inspector is in Houston which is a 20 hour trip for me one way. They will charge for the inspection, plus I will have travel and hotel fees to get there. I then must overnight the paper to have a USDA Certified Vet inspect and sign that paper. They will charge a fee, plus the costs of Fed Ex both ways.
If the paperwork is not in order when the animals arrive in your country, they will be rejected and shipped back to me.
Average cost to ship to any International destination with fees, airfare and crate can start at $1,200 US or more. That would depend upon your country. Some countries require more than the average health certificate and US Fish and Wildlife inspection.
You may have to travel far to get them as well. Not all airports will have a vet on duty there. I will ship them to the airport that has one closest to you, but it may be some travel on your end.
I do periodically get questions from people saying that they are coming to Vegas or Phoenix and wish to pick up the animals and bring them home. Unless you are driving there, it will not work unless you make arrangements at least a week in advance with United or Delta to ship them back to your home airport. They are the only two domestic airlines that accept exotic pets any longer. FAA regulations state that only some small breeds of dogs, cats, some birds and certified service animals can travel in the passenger section of planes. You will not be permitted to take the gliders with you in the cabin for travel, and if you are caught, they will be confiscated.
The animals must ship with United or Delta Cargo. These offices are not located directly at the airport, but usually on the outskirts, near were Fed Ex and UPS receiving their cargo. Someone must be there on one end to book the animals two hours in advance of the flight and to have an airline approved crate that is put together by regulation. In many cases, we must drill the crate in several place and place nuts and bolts, or they will not be accepted for the flight. The animals must be comfortable in the crate as well. Someone must also be on the receiving end to pick up the gliders no more then 2 hours after they land. Some smaller cargo offices have hours and if no one is there to pick them up, the cargo office will close and you will not be able to get the animals until the next day.
If you are flying, it’s probably best that I handle the shipping detail when you are home and able to pick the animals up safely.