Thank you for your interest in helping bring dogs to their new homes! Every day flights travel from Mexico City to Toronto, or Cancun to Toronto – and they don’t have dogs on them! Those are flights that could have saved dogs. As a registered rescue, DIBS relies on the kindness of volunteers (like you!) to bring these dogs onto to the next step of their rescue journey.  This only works for travelers that have their vacations booked.  The flight/vacation is paid for by the traveler, and DIBS can arrange the dog travel to align with your existing plans. Please note that there are challenges with flights landing after midnight, with availability of customs, foster and volunteers. Sometimes we have to decline these offers

The task is quite easy, but this document in intended to highlight what to expect before and after your flight.  The flight parent role begins and ends at the airport!  There is no transportation of dogs required beyond the airport.

Summer 2022 Update! 
Heat Embargo: with the warmer weather upon us, airlines are very mindful of pet safety. Not all airplanes have temperature controlled cargo areas for animals, so we are all mindful of making good choices!
Air Canada is still the best for sending crates back to Mexico. 

  • Current best options: 
    • Air Canada from Toronto to Cancun.  Air Transat from Cancun to Toronto 
    • Air Canada from Toronto to Mexico City.  Aeromexico from Mexico City to Toronto.
  • Air Transat is our preferred option as they do have temp controlled are for the dogs. Direct flight from Cancun to Toronto 
  • The fee is approximately $275 per dog, paid by DIBS
  • Must be booked in advance (Generally we need a minimum of a weeks notice, in order to complete vetting, arrange fosters, prepare travel documents)
  • Historically there is a limit of 2-5 dogs per aircraft (depending on size of plane)
  • Best option for Mexico City is Aeromexico as it’s a direct flight

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What airlines are good?  (Note, the details below can be affected by airline enforced embargos (due to temperatures, holidays, etc)

Not all airlines have equal philosophies with rescue dogs.  Here are our preferences, in order as we navigate these covid-affected times!

  1. Air Canada – The Good:  Offers free spots to registered rescue orgs accepted into their program.  Also great for sending crates to Mexico!  The Bad: Maximum of 2-4 dogs per passenger. Has heat/cold embargos where dogs can’t fly.
  2. Air Transat – The Good:  Used to offer free waivers…currently charge $275 per dog. Hoping we get back to waivers, but in the meantime we are paying the dogs airfare.  Operates year round.  The Bad: Maximum of 3-4 dogs per flight.   No news on sending crates to Mexico
  3. Aeromexico  – The Good:  Allows 10 dogs per flight.  The Bad:  $330 per dog kennel.  Not affordable option to return empty crates to shelter.
  4. WestJet – The Good: Allowed to put 2 related dogs in one kennel, provided they are comfortable and friendly.  The Bad:  Charges $236 per dog kennel. Has heat/cold embargo where dogs can’t fly.  Maximum 3 crates per flight.  Not affordable option to return empty crates to shelter.  May allow one dog crate to travel for free.  Passenger needs to fill out the form (listed below) themselves.  Embargo info: https://www.westjet.com/en-ca/pets
  5. Sunwing – does not allow dogs on flights.

Once you book your flight, let’s get started!
When booking your flight, you can always ask “Are there available spots for me to bring dogs on my flight?”  Sometimes there are spots, sometimes there are not. If your goal is to bring dogs back, be sure to ask!

Step 1: Provide us with your flight details

  • Please fill out this quick form (at the end of this page) to provide required flight details

Step 2: Being met at the airport
• If you are traveling to Mexico with extra crates or donations, a volunteer will meet you at the airport. If you are heading to Playa, they may be able to give you a ride!
• If you are traveling to Toronto, you will be met at the airport with a volunteer and dogs!!! (5 dogs is ideal.) Sometimes, depending on the flight, only 3 are allowed. If logistics align, you may also get a ride to the Cancun airport from Playa

Step 3: Checking in
• Mexico based rescue orgs are pro’s at this! They will bring the dogs to the airport, and help get you checked in, and ensure you have all required travel documents and vetting records. All dogs are fully vetted (above and beyond what is required for Canada)
o While checking in a porter will slowly get all the crates secured for travel. He will tag the crates
o Once porter is done, he will take you and the dogs to a secondary section. It’s a smaller room (you stay outside but can watch). Each dog is taken in one by one, their crates inspected and the front of the crate is secured for travel. You can wave goodbye to the dogs and continue through your standard process (security, etc)

Step 4: Welcome to Toronto!  – turn your cell phone on and stay in touch with the DIBS team as you go through the steps!  (We find Facebook Messenger the preferred tool, as you can have a group of people looped in at one time)
• Proceed to get your luggage (after you go through customs). Once your luggage is through, go wait for the dogs.
In Terminal 3, they will come out by a set of grey double doors (near end of baggage carousel 6).
In Terminal 1, come down escalator to baggage area. Dogs will be at area B (near luggage carousels 5 or 6)
Dogs seem to come off last, so you typically get your luggage first. You may want the large trolley for all the dogs. Worst case, collect 2-3 small luggage carts.  If you use a porter, they typically expect about $15 per dog (DIBS will reimburse) so we typically try to avoid a porter when it’s just a few dogs arriving.
• Go through primary customs (**do not use Nexus as you are bringing commercial goods**) You will need to go to secondary customs as the dogs are live cargo (the helpers at the grey doors will direct you). This will take approx 15 minutes, when not busy. They will take the paperwork that you have been sent with:

  • Rescue documents – states you are acting as a flight parent for DIBS dogs
  • Vetting info (vetting booklet and health certificate)
  • B3 form for importing dogs (commercial goods) – you will likely not need this, but it is sent, just in case! Typically the agent at secondary customs will fax a document over to the commercial customs building where the B3 will be processed with another DIBS volunteer.

• Once info is completed, you will be asked to go pay the customs fee – approx $56 – $75. (Don’t worry, we will pay you back!)
• After payment is received, customs agent will finalize and you will be on your way.

Step 5: The hand-off
• You will have contact info for at least one foster parent. Typically for 5 dogs, you will have 5 eager fosters ready to take “their” dog home.
• Give each foster home their vetting paperwork (one file per dog). Do a mental inventory to review if you have meds, leashes, and special instructions for the dog.
• Provide foster lead with the bill for the customs fee. Your decision to take cash then, or to get money emailed to you tomorrow.
• Take group photo! Wave goodbye! And…THANK YOU!!!!! You have helped save dog lives!

DISCLAIMER:  While we desperately need flight parents, we also need the stars to align.  In the case of escorting dogs, the stars are 1. dogs that are ready to fly, and 2. foster families with room to take the dogs. and 3. timing.  Once you let us know that you can be a flight volunteer, we will try to get all details lined up.  Most final planning happens 3-4 weeks in advance of the flight, but in, some situations, the details come together a little later in the cycle. (We need dogs to get adopted to free up a spot in a foster home).  If the starts do not align, we may have to cancel, or on occasion can refer the fight parent to an alternate registered rescue.  In case we have to cancel, please know that we truly appreciate your offer and please do think of us on your next trip!  Without flight parents, these dogs can’t come to Canada.  Thank you for reading all the way to the end, and we hope our paths cross soon!

Flight Parent Submission Form

Please complete form with as many details as you have. We try to make the "booking" part as easy as possible, whenever possible. Getting this info helps us take care of the rest!

"*" indicates required fields

We will need this if we are able to utilize your offer to be a flight parent. (It is included on the authorization letter)
We need this to add either paid or waived spots to your flight reservation (don't worry, you don't pay!)
This is your flight that lands in Mexico. We need this to add either paid or waived spots to your flight reservation (don't worry, you don't pay!)
We only have rescue partners around Mexico City and Cancun airports.
DD dash MM dash YYYY
This is your flight that lands in Toronto. We need this to add either paid or waived spots to your flight reservation (don't worry, you don't pay!)
DD dash MM dash YYYY
(aka "how many helping hands to you have"?)
Airlines are likely to approve a few more waivers, if they know you have a buddy with you to help out!
Max. file size: 100 MB.
In most cases, we are able to book the waivers for dogs/items on our own and having full info in front of us, does help!