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FLYING TO MEXICO CITY WITH DOGS – Our Step-by-Step Experience

April 2023

It has been a while since we last flew with our dogs into Mexico City Benito Juárez International Airport because we normally drive everywhere.

This article will explain what to expect when flying with a dog to Mexico City, the SENASICA OISA office and the importation process.

We flew directly from LAX to MEX on Aeroméxico with our two dogs, Olivia and Sofia.

Here is our step-by-step experience.  

BOOKING AIRLINE TICKETS WHEN TRAVELING WITH PETS

It is noteworthy to point out that only a certain number of dogs are allowed on each Aeroméxico flight.

Therefore, it is important to contact the airline directly.  Either to call and book tickets directly. Or book online and immediately call with your reservation number to add your dog or cat to your ticket. 

Of course, there is an additional charge each way.

The reservation agent did ask me a question that was never asked before.

She asked me to measure each dog! Measure from the nose to tail.

When I asked why, she replied that this information was for the check-in agent.

Hum… it will be interesting to see if the check-in agent actually uses this information.

Selecting seats when flying with a dog

The flight we took on Aeroméxico was a Dreamliner BOEING DREAMLINE 787-8 JET.

I pre-selected seats in the middle row – aisle seats, D and F.

The reason I selected aisle seats is because the seat in front of an aisle seat does not have entertainment equipment under the seat.

Seats with the equipment under them blocks the amount of space one can use to put items under it, such as a dog carrier.

Window and middle seats have the entertainment equipment under them and the airline approved dog carriers do not fit.

CHECK-IN PROCESS FOR AEROMÉXICO AT LAX

We arrived 3 hours before the departure time at the Aeroméxico / Delta Airlines check-in counter.

When we got in line, we were told to put the dogs into their carrier. They could not be on a leash waiting by our sides.

Once we got to the check-in counter the agent asked for the dog’s paperwork. Aeroméxico requires a health certificate and a current rabies certificate.

Aeroméxico only allows a 5-day window for getting a health certificate. I got these health certificates the day before we flew down to Mexico City.

The agent did not ask to see the dogs nor did he weigh the dogs. However, the check-in agent next to us did ask a lady to put her dog and carrier on the scale.  The dog was half way out of the carrier and looked bigger than our dogs.

PET labels were attached to each dog carrier.

All in all, the check-in process with dogs went smoothly.

Once we left the ticket counter, we took the dogs out of their carriers and went for a walk outside.

LAX has limited grass. There are a few plants and bushes just outside of the parking garages on the ground floor.

There are relief stations inside the LAX terminals. They smell of urine. If you go, wear a mask to block the strong order.

The plastic grass hurt our dog’s paws and they refused to walk on it.

We keep extra pee-pads inside the carriers, under the thin padding.

At the relief station we used one and put it down (away from the plastic grass) and Sofia was happy to use that.

map showing where the relief stations are at LAX

TAKING DOGS THROUGH THE TSA STATION AT LAX

 We had no issues going through the security check point with our dogs.

We took each dog out of their carrier before getting to the x-ray machine.  

We walked the dogs through the metal detectors with us.  The harness we used on each dog was thin with very little metal. No beeps. =8-)

The dogs went back into their carriers because we had to take a internal shuttle bus to our gate at another terminal.

AEROMÉXICO GATE CHECK-IN PROCESS AT LAX

LAX gate monitors

Once we got to the gate, we took the dogs out of their carriers and walked them around a bit.

The Aeroméxico gate agent asked us to please come to the counter. She wanted to change our seats because a dog has to be by a window.

Apparently, there was only one window seat available which she assigned to me and then sat my husband next to me in the aisle seat.  No one in the middle.

As I mentioned before, there is no room for a dog carrier to fit under the window seat in front.

There was enough room under the aisle seat for my husband to slide Sofia’s dog carrier under the seat. 

Since no one was in the middle seat I was able to turn Olivia’s dog carrier sideways and take up two spaces to make it fit. 

ARRIVING AT THE MEXICO CITY AIRPORT WITH DOGS

arrival area Mexico city airport

It is an especially   L O N G   walk while carrying dogs from the airplane to the Customs and Immigration area at the Mexico City airport. 

The airport has been remodeled and looks great! There are clear signs indicating where to go.

Mexico has been phasing out the paper FMM card and replaced it with a stamp in your passport.

When it was our turn to see the immigration officer, she asked us a few questions about where and how long we were staying in Mexico City. No questions about the dogs. 

Once our passports were stamped, we headed out of that area.

We walked down a hallway (which had a small shop) to the baggage claim area. No one said anything about taking the dogs to the SENASICA OISA office.

hallway you walk out of to the baggage claim area

As soon as you emerge from the hallway, the SENASICA OISA office is to the left. 

You cannot miss it. There are people lined up with their dogs.

the SENASICA OISA office window

Before we went to the OISA office, we headed over to the baggage carousel to pickup our luggage.

We put the two dogs on top of the luggage and wheeled over to the OISA office.

A few things to note…

There is a sign saying to leave your pet in the carrier.  

Sign in the OISA office window

I also noticed that the OISA officer did not ask to see the pets nor conduct a physical inspection.  

Once we got to the counter, they had us fill out a short form.

The form wanted our names, passport number, flight number and where we were staying in Mexico City.

This form asked nothing about the dogs.

OISA form

We had to complete one form per dog.

Once we handed in the forms, he asked for the dog’s paperwork.

Although the country of Mexico does not require a health certificate for dogs traveling from the U.S. or Canada, Aeroméxico does.  So, I handed over the health certificates and rabies certificates.

It took about 15 minutes for him to enter the data into the system and hand us the official Certificado Zoosanitorio Para Importación.

He gave us two copies for each dog. One copy for us to keep and one copy to hand to an official on our way out.

Again, no physical inspection.

zoosanitario certificate

The only information on the certificate that pertained to the dog was the description. What breed, how old and the name of the dog.

It did not have any information about whether or not she had a rabies shot, was free of parasites, or other vaccines she has had.

Next, we got in line to exit the baggage claim area. We took the dogs out of their carriers at this point.

The luggage had to be x-rayed before leaving the baggage claim area. This included the dog carriers.

GETTING A TAXI AT THE AIRPORT

After the luggage was x-rayed, we headed towards the exit.

There are large frosted glass doors which open up into an area where all the taxi and car rental companies are. There are also currency exchange places. This is where anyone who is meeting you will pick you up as well.

We like to use CASADEY Taxi company. It is the first booth you see once entering this area.

The CASADEY clerk will ask for the address of where you are going and then tell you how much it will cost. You pre-pay here. They accept credit cards.

CASADEY Taxi Office at Mexico City Airport

After you pay, they give you a voucher and then an escort you to the spot for CASADEY taxi service.

Green space for dogs at CDMX airport

There is a great little green space for dogs right next to the CASADEY taxi stand. Our dogs really needed to use this green space before getting into the taxi.

Turns out we used this same green space when we were flying back out. Very handy!

Grassy area at Mexico City airport Terminal 2

FLYING OUT OF MEXICO CITY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT WITH A DOG

When got in line to check-in we were directed to the Special Services counter, not the regular counter.

It actually turned out for the better because there were no other people in line.

The agent asked for the dog’s rabies certificate and health certificate.

I did not get another health certificate while in Mexico City because we were only there 5 days.

Note: at the time of this writing, going into Mexico the health certificate is good for 15 days from the date the veterinarian signed it. According to Aeroméxico’s rules.

She accepted the health certificate as it was dated.

She did ask to weigh each dog in their carrier.

She also moved our seats because of their rule that dogs must be by a window. This time we each had a window seat in different rows.

The entire check-in process only took 20 minutes.

We had 3 hours before our airplane started the boarding process.

We did not want to leave the dogs in their carriers and wanted to take them outside, back to that green space we used upon arriving.

Another noteworthy comment… the airlines will not tell you the gate number for your flight.  You have to keep checking the flight board. Fortunately, the Aeroméxico app did tell us the gate number about 2 hours before departure.

HOW TO GET DOWNSTAIRS AND TO A GREEN SPACE FOR THE DOGS

There is one escalator down to the ground floor in Terminal 2.

Look for the 7-Eleven shop. Across from that is a large column that says “L 1”. The escalator is right in front of that.

escalator access to ground floor

The escalator will take you down to the ground level where the taxi, rental car and currency exchange offices are located. It should look familiar. 

Walk to the farthest end of this area and exited out the doors on the left. The green space is located just outside next to the CASADEY taxi stand.

arrow pointing to the door to the grassy area outside

GOING THROUGH SECURITY AT MEXICO CITY AIRPORT WITH DOGS

The dogs were already out of their carriers from having been outside earlier.

We walked the dogs through the metal detectors.

The security agent did a brief physical inspection of each dog. They were looking for weapons, not to see if they were healthy.

WAITING AT THE GATE AND BOARDING THE AIRPLANE

While waiting at the gate we opened up the carriers so they could lie down or walk around us with their leash on.

We had a long time to wait until our flight departed and I did not want to keep them in the carriers longer than absolutely necessary.

Shocking boarding procedure for dogs

A very awful boarding procedure occurred before we were allowed on the airplane with our dogs. 

The gate agent Zip-tied each of their carriers closed!   

zip-tied dog carrier !

This was very upsetting to me. What if there was an emergency and we needed to get the dogs out of the carriers?

What were we supposed to do once we landed? 

We don’t carry scissors in our carry-on, let along our luggage. Were we expected to keep our dogs locked-up until we finally reach home or our hotel? 

This was very cruel in my opinion.

dog carrier only fits halfway under the window seat in front

A follow passenger told me about this hack to break the zip-ties.

Simply put writing pen through the circle holding the zippers closed and twist, twist, twist until the zip-ties break.

Voila it worked!  =8-)

This hack also proved to be helpful once we collected our luggage. 

Turns out Aeroméxico zip-tied everyone’s luggage closed. So even if you carried some scissors in your luggage, you cannot open it to get them out.

We ended up showing a few other passengers this hack to break the zip-ties. They were very grateful.

MY KEY TAKE AWAYS

What I learned through this process of flying to Mexico City with dogs is this…

The OISA office does not perform a physical inspection of your dog even though all the documentation says there will be an inspection.

The OISA office never asked about fleas/mites/tick prevention. Never looked inside the carrier or at the dog.

If I did not have a health certificate how would the OISA officer get the information required to put into their system and Zoosanitario certificate?

For example – the name of the dog and the breed? The rabies certificate did not have this information. The OISA form we were asked to complete never asked anything about the dogs. Only the health certificate had this information.

Aeroméxico in Mexico City is strict about preventing anyone from opening a suitcase or a dog carrier. The dogs are trapped inside until you can break the zip-tie.

I hope you found this article helpful. Please let me know in the comments if you have questions or additional remarks.

Viajes seguros mi amigos!

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Layla

Thank you so much!!!!!

PEDRO LUIS NIEVES GARNICA

Hi. Very accurate description 💎💎 My experience in Mexico City en route to flying out (via COPA AIRLINES) en route to Puerto Rico was horrible. Out of lack of knowledge of COPA personnel my wife and I as well as a Golden Rtrv and Adale Terrier was sent to SENASICA office downstairs at the Intl Airport and out of inaccurate information from the attending SENASICA person, we weren’t allowed in the plane “for lack of documentation”. In order to set straight veterinary requirements for Puerto Rico as well as to reschedule a flight took several days, trips to the airport,… Read more »

Annet

Thank you so much for this helpful information!

Wondering if anyone knows if in the CDMX Airport there is a pet relief station once you get through TSA and are waiting in the gate area in Terminal 2?

Roxi

Hi, how are you, so happy to find you! I am from Romania and I travel around Latin America with my dog. Next week we’re going to Mexico and I struggle finding an email address from the SENASICA in Cancun. Do you happen to have one? The fact is that I would like to take another flight when I land in Mexico but I have no idea if they can give me the permit for the dog. Cause, obviously, I have the documents made by the vet to get to Mexico, not to the next country. By any chance you… Read more »

Vitoria

This info is very useful thank you.
Do you ha e any information about flights from another country to the united states
with a 3 hours stopover in mexico city?
Do you have to go to the agriculture officer also?

Josh

HI! Thanks for this great info. One thing I’m confused about – if we’ll be in CMDX for 10 days, it sounds like we’ll need to get a certificate down there for returning since its longer than 5 days? Can you speak to that a little more?

Liz

Sometimes they inspect. We landed in Querétaro and were the only people with a dog. The woman did inspect our dog. When my husband returned on his own, they gave him a hard time because she thought the carrier, which he had flown in on and had flown within the US on, was too small. Eventually she let him through, but we now own a larger one for our very small dog. He loved Mexico.

Eblyn

Hello! Thank you for all the info. I do have a question, maybe you know about it. My sis is flying tomorrow and American Airlines told her she needs a broker at Mexico to make the paper work and the agent charges 2K usd to do so. Have you heard about anything like that? I feels it is too expensive to bring a dog (the dog comes in the cargo area as it is a big dog, not huge).

Frank Corrao

Thanks for all you detail you have shared in traveling with a dog to Mexico. I am in the process of flying from Atlanta, GA to Mexico City (via Delta) with my 3.5 year old Havapoo. I have already made the in-cabin reservation for my dog (an additional $200 charge). I have a little over a month before my trip and can’t help but have high-anxiety about the trip. My dog (Pringles) is extremely well bahaved, but I’m not sure if there’s anything specific I should consider before making this trip (e.g. medication, CBD, etc.). More concerning, is the process… Read more »

Frank Corrao

Thank you for the reply. There are some good reminders on the checklist, and I will use it when preparing for my trip. I’ve concluded that my airline (Delta) does not require a Health Certificate. I already have reserved the cabin space and have an approved carrier to bring my dog into the cabin. I am still struggling with the paperwork I need from my Vet. You have detailed the requirements for the Rabies documentation, but what about the other topics you mention in your postings, e.g., proof of parasite prevention (fleas and ticks) plus lice/mites prevention., record of all… Read more »

Frank Corrao

Thank you for the additional remarks. I certainly feel a lot less anxious about the upcoming travel of my dog to Mexico. I still fear that I will either be stopped at boarding leaving from the US or stuck in the Mexico airport upon arrival. I have never traveled outside the US with a dog and never in a plane, so I can’t help but feel anxious about the trip. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and experience.

Liz

We had a health certificate as the airline required it and I recommend getting one as an extreme abundance of caution. If your Vet does not know how to do this, there are ones who prepare pets for travel frequently and will be able to help you. When we lived in Mexico and they still required certificates, we had it done in Mexico and the veterinarians down there were very easy to work with.

Liz

Hi Frank, for returning, we felt it was worth the money and hassle to have Global Entry as there is no line and you just sail through on reentry. My husband said noone even looked at our dog. A small well behaved dog in a crate is barely noticed. We had medication from our Vet just in case, but our dog never needed it and he just settled in below the seat in front of our feet. I love the Arlo Skye pet carriers which we upgraded to after the first, cheap one, broke. Get the larger size even for… Read more »

Frank Corrao

Great advice, Liz. I’ve decided to get an international pet health certificate ($300) to avoid any possible hassles when traveling with Pringles for the first time. Everything I’ve read/heard says that this isn’t necessary for USA/Mexico travel but I am already a nervous wreck thinking about about this trip. Once I have the health certificate, I’m planning on completing the “pet frequent travel” certification that Mexico has available. While this won’t be a Global Entry, it should alleviate some of the future travel issues when bringing Pringles back and forth between USA and Mexico. Pringles travels well, but I do… Read more »

Andrea

thank you so much for this information. I’m such an overly anxious person and overthink the worst possibilities. We are travelling to Mexico City at the end of this month with our little chihuahua, and I have been worried about what I need. This helps us so much and I can worry less now, still anxious but lot less than I was before. I found this article very helpful and now I know what I need and what to expect. All the paperwork you needed you got from your Vet right?