Wonderful advice, Jon and Debi- I want to pass on or reiterate a few requests to rescuers, mostly things our sender and receiver had already thought of, that I found extremely helpful in my first experience transporting a dog. Please feel free to edit/rewrite as necessary.
*I second Jon's plea to put start and end points in the original post. Remember that there are lots of towns with the same names so I'd suggest using City/State/Airport designator pairs. Cleveland/OH/BKL to Philadelphia/PA/PNE , for example.
*Be willing to be flexible for both dates and airports. If, for example, BigCity Airport is charging 6 bucks a gallon for avgas, plus landing fees, would you be willing to meet your flight at nearby Podunk Regional Airport, where gas is just under $4? It may take you 20 miles out of your way, but many of us are cutting things pretty close to the line to fly at all, these days, and a dollar or two a gallon makes a substantial difference when you're buying the stuff 50 or 60 gallons at a time. As for dates, flexibility is vital. I may look out the window and see nothing but fog the day you insist your doggy must fly. Sorrrrrry. Ain't gonna happen, at least until the weather improves.
*In your initial post, put the animal's size, weight, condition, and anything else a pilot will need to know. The animal WILL be crated or have a harness, right, for his own safety, and mine? And he will be freshly washed, walked, not fed the day of the flight, treated for fleas, and so forth? Any chance you have a clean blanket to put on the airplane seat, if the animal isn't to be crated? The nice dog we transported last weekend was squeaky clean, had a sturdy comfortable harness, and came with a nice big blanket that was comfortingly familiar to him, and covered our upholstery just fine. The thoughtfulness and professionalism was very much appreciated, especially as we hadn't planned on the furry passenger and weren't prepared ourselves.
*Handy websites: Want to know where your volunteer pilot's flight is? You can track it by entering the airplanes ID number, N3558H, for example, in the appropriate blank on http://www.flightaware.com
, and it will show you where the aircraft is, and when and where it's expected to land, so you'll know fairly precisely when to meet your flight. You can also check out airports and fuel prices at http://www.airnav.com
, so you'll already have an idea of what airports are convenient to you and your volunteer pilot.
* How do I say this without sounding grumpy and mean? It just happened again, and I gotta say: If you're sending me a PM with a request, um... could you please be reasonable? I understand that you're anxious to get your rescued critter to her new home. But please think about it beforehand and glance at a map. Understand, please, it's just too much to ask that I drop everything, take off work, plan a 1400-mile trip right now, and spend a very, very long day in a little airplane tomorrow, battling summer thunderstorms, with one scared, unhappy, possibly airsick stray cat for company. And it makes me feel bad to say "No." Check it out: a trip of 200 or 300 miles, sure. That makes a fun afternoon of it for a good cause. And the 1000-mile trip is possible, too, but probably only if I'm already going that far anyway. Break your trip into do-able segments, post them on the need-a-ride board, and see what happens.