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You can check the hourly temperatures ahead of time and make sure they are within range and you will have the same info as Delta and you will know if it is okay to make you plans.I just want to thank you all for this incredibly useful info! My pair had babies in the early summer, and as much as I'd love to have a house full of happy caiques, I need to find new homes for them. The OP and I have been corresponding to figure out how to get birds from me, located in central Washington state, to them in the midwest. I've never been on this side of the shipping process—my pair of WBCs were shipped to me from AZ and FL—and the logistics are definitely a thing I underestimated! Also, it's been weirdly difficult for me to get accurate flight information for shipping—I get different answers on different calls while attempting to find the shortest flights possible, even during the same time frames.
The babies have recently weaned, but now it's November, so we've been a little concerned about the cold temps. It's been mentioned that the airlines (Delta at least) won't ship if it's too cold at either end of the trek. That's good, but does throw a wrench into getting the babies onto a flight and on their way, because I have to drive almost 3 hours to get to the airport; if I drove all the way out there, and the airline decides it won't ship that day... oof. So, we're considering holding off on shipping until spring.
Here's the carrier I'm planning to use (it's actually one that one of the parents arrived to me in—needs a little cleaning):
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Here's the whole family, because of course I can't not post baby pics, too!
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I get different info from different people as well so it can definitely be confusing. Flights vary each day and you also have to deal with cut off times for checking them in and hours that the cargo facility is open.
So here is a scenario. There is a flight that leaves at 7 AM that I want to use. The birds need to be checked in and inspected 2 hours early (at 5 AM) at the latest to be allowed on that fight. 1 minute late and you will not be allowed to fly on that flight. The cargo office doesn't open until 5 AM so there is no way to get them checked in for this flight so it is completely eliminated as a possibility. If the agent didn't check the cargo hours then they may tell you it is a possibility but if they do check the hours then they will tell you it is not. So it just depends on the person you get. It also works that way for pick up at the other end. If you are outside the pick up hours they will keep the birds until morning for a morning pick up. So while it is technically a possibility I personally don't do it so then it becomes not an option.
Weekends have more limited flights and more limited hours so I find it almost impossible to ship on the weekends. Also there is more chance of them getting bumped off a busy flight and less chance of getting put on another flight that day if it happens. I like to send them out as early as possible so there are options for getting them their if there are flight changes, delays or cancellations.
I have had good success with shipping but it is a lot to work out.
If you are three hours from the airport and you need to drop them off 2 hours early (make that at least three hours because there might be a line and it takes time to check them in) then you'll need to leave home about 6 hours before their flight leaves. More logistics