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UK to USA with Win and Clem the Scottie Dogs

All the details you need to get your pups across the pond... and a truly epic adventure story with cute photos and videos for those who don't *need* the info.



To skip to the flight information, click here!


Harrogate, United Kingdom to Boston, Massachusetts, USA: a multi-day journey made possible by my parents, my husband, and the two greatest dogs of all time.


The big issue: Dogs are not allowed in the cabin on commercial aircraft entering or exiting the UK. If you're not willing to check your dog in the cargo hold, you're left with three (expensive) options for getting them back to the US:

  1. Take a seven-day cruise across the Atlantic on Cunard's Queen Mary II, booking one kennel per dog at $800-$1000 (this, of course, does not include the cost of your own cruise).

  2. Book a seat on a shared charter flight, like Seven Star Pet Jets (price varies based on how many people sign up for the flight).

  3. Book a flight on a pet-friendly airline out of a neighboring EU country.

We chose option 3, as the French boutique airline La Compagnie allows dogs up to 15 kg/33 lbs to travel in the cabin. At 18 and 23 lbs respectively, Clem and Win are ever so slightly too big to travel on most airlines, like Air France, that allow dogs in the cabin (generally speaking the weight limit is 8 kg/17 lbs and the carrier must fit under the seat in front of you).


The main obstacle, of course, was getting from Harrogate to Paris. The journey was a long one! Our travel itinerary was as follows:

  • Drive from Harrogate to London (4.5 hours)

  • Stay overnight in London

  • Drive from London to Folkestone (2 hours)

  • Take Le Shuttle (the Chunnel) from Folkestone, England to Calais, France (30 minutes)

  • Drive from Le Shuttle to the Calais train station (10 minutes)

  • Take the train from Calais to Paris (2.5 hours)

  • Stay overnight in Paris

  • Take an Uber from Paris city center to Orly Airport (30 minutes)

  • Fly from Paris-Orly Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport (8 hours)

  • Drive from Newark, New Jersey to the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts (4 hours)

Needless to say, it was absolutely exhausting...


Part I: London


Our journey began with a long car ride from our home in Harrogate to northern London. On Friday morning, my husband drove me and the babies to London. My mom flew in to London the day before to meet us, as she was graciously helping me bring the dogs back to the US. Winston and Clementine took the opportunity to snooze, snoring the whole way down to London.



I chose a hotel in northern London primarily so that we didn't have to drive through the city after traveling all the way from Harrogate. There are many pet-friendly hotels in London, but I wanted to use my Bonvoy points to book our rooms, and options for pet-friendly Marriott hotels in London--with parking--were quite limited. I settled on the Marriott London at Regents Park, but I am not sure I would recommend it. The staff were nice but definitely not particularly enthused to see dogs (nor were the other guests). The room was fine, but the bathroom was very small and did not have windows or a fan, which was kind of gross. This was also the first experience we've had traveling with the dogs where we felt somewhat unwelcome (our room even got downgraded because we needed to be in one of their few "pet friendly" offerings).


We spent the afternoon walking all around Regents Park and Primrose Hill. It was a glorious day! The cafés in Regents Park all sell Jude's ice cream (for both humans and dogs), so that was a nice treat on an unseasonably warm and sunny day in England.



The view from Primrose Hill is simply breathtaking. If you look closely at the picture below, you'll see the London Eye.



For dinner, we went to a great pub called The Queens Primrose Hill. The food was excellent and the service was warm and welcoming.



After dinner it was time to make our way back to the hotel and get some rest for a busy Day 2 of travel...


Part II: Paris


We woke up early Saturday morning to make sure we had plenty of time for our scheduled LeShuttle departure from Folkestone to Calais. The drive from London to Folkestone is just about two hours, requiring a drive through London city center, so give yourself plenty of time (and don't forget to pay your London City congestion charge of £15 per day to avoid hefty fines).


The Eurotunnel/Chunnel/LeShuttle recommends arriving at least one hour prior to your scheduled departure, and that is especially true if you are traveling with dogs. I booked our fare online about two weeks before our departure, at which time I entered our car's registration, passenger names, and passport information. When booking, you'll also have the option to select how many dogs you're bringing with you. For reference, a one-way booking for a small/medium car with three passengers and two dogs came to £212.


When you arrive to the terminal in Folkestone, you will drive through a self-service check-in. Once you've entered your booking code, you'll receive a tag and more information about where to proceed before boarding.

If you're traveling with a pet, you must visit Pet Reception with your dog(s). At reception, we had to show our animal health certificate (which must be completed by your veterinarian within ten days of your scheduled departure) and both Win and Clem's microchips were scanned and checked against their paperwork. It is crucial that you have this documentation in order, including proof that a valid rabies vaccine was administered at least 21 days prior to your departure. For US pet parents, this may not seems like an issue--in the UK, however, most pets do not get regular rabies vaccines because England is rabies-free. We had Win and Clem vaccinated in July, so they were good to go. When you visit your vet for the health certificate, it's a good idea to have them scan the microchip to make sure it still works (and that the number that gets scanned actually matches the one on your pet's paperwork).



There's a fairly large dog exercise park at the terminal that even has a separate section for female dogs in season. It was a good place to let Win and Clem stretch their legs, but unfortunately it seems like a lot of people don't bother picking up after their babies, as it was sadly quite dirty.



After checking in the dogs, we got a sticker for the car that told us where to go for our departure and denoted that we had successfully checked in and cleared the dogs at the pet reception center. When it's time to board (there are screens everywhere, just like at the airport), you will go through UK border control, followed by France border control. Yes, they stamp your passport!


After you've cleared both passport control points, it's time to board. We couldn't believe how helpful all of the staff were--everything was so well-marked and clear, and there were people everywhere directing you where to go. The whole experience was seamless.


You'll board a giant car train that takes you to your spot for the crossing. Win was VERY excited about this whole process.



Clementine was a little less enthused, and was a bit freaked out once we were inside. Once we got moving, she was okay.



Once we made it to Calais, we had a train to catch! My husband drove us to the Calais-Fréthun station, which is only about a ten minute drive from the Eurotunnel terminal.


When we first arrived, we thought the station was closed. It looked like a ghost town... the only things missing were tumbleweeds rolling by... There was no one there and it was eerily quiet.



The station was a bit confusing (the signage wasn't particularly clear) but the train itself was nice. For the first hour of the ride I was fully convinced we were on the wrong train (spoiler: we weren't) because it looked like we were going the opposite direction from Paris on the map (and no one ever came by to check our tickets). The train was quite clean and quiet and there was ample leg room. No one so much as batted an eye about the dogs.


When I was researching our travels, I read that dogs must either be in a carrier or muzzled when traveling on trains in France. I purchased soft mesh muzzles ahead of our trip in case anyone asked, but I never ended up having to use them. Both Winston and Clementine spent most of the train ride out of their carriers, but I have to add that they are both incredibly well-behaved and quiet. I'm sure that if they were being disruptive other passengers or crew members may not have been so ambivalent.



Possibly the worst part of the entire journey from Harrogate to Boston was trying to leave the bustling, busy chaos of Paris's Gare du Nord station with two dogs, two purses, and three giant suitcases. Luckily, my mom found us a hotel that was genuinely a stone's throw from the station.


For anyone traveling by train to Paris, I'd highly recommend Hotel Hor (160 Rue la Fayette

75010). The hosts at reception were thrilled to see the dogs and were incredibly friendly and accommodating. The hotel is in a really busy part of Paris (and frankly, not the nicest) so we deeply appreciated the enclosed outdoor terrace on the ground floor. We were welcome to use it with the dogs so that we didn't have to navigate the streets late at night or early in the morning with them. The hotel itself was clean and comfortable, and everyone working there was incredibly kind.


We spent the day wandering around a very crowded Paris. We were fortunate that the weather was absolutely amazing (sunny and warm) and we were able to get fantastic pictures of the babies (in berets!) outside the Notre Dame.



We ate dinner in the Marais, at a great brasserie appropriately named Le Bouledogue (20 Rue Rambuteau 75003).


By this point in the day, little Clemmie was absolutely knackered and passed out for a deep sleep on the floor (under my skirt).



The food and wine were excellent. To start, I got a French onion soup and my mom got escargots.



The waiters and waitresses were so kind and welcoming, even bringing a bowl of water for the babies.



Absolutely exhausted, we got an Uber Pet back to our hotel. By this point, Clementine was in a very bad mood and cried the entire way (we tipped the Uber driver well... we were stuck in traffic most of the way as apparently 8:30pm on a Saturday night is the chosen time for the city's garbage collection to take place).



We settled in for a good night's sleep in anticipation of The Big Day...


Part III: USA


With a 10:30am flight out of Paris's Orly Airport, we met our Uber Pet driver outside the hotel at 7:50am. You can reserve Ubers in advance via the app, and I'd highly recommend doing so!


The ride to the airport was only about 30 minutes, as it was a Sunday morning with very little traffic.


Upon arrival, we went into the terminal and checked in for our flight. We had Winston and Clementine in their carriers when we approached the check-in desk, and the airline agents were thrilled to see them. I've seen a lot of conflicting accounts in various pet relocation Facebook groups about the check-in experience in Paris for those traveling with dogs, but for us it was incredibly smooth (and no one even asked to see their "fit to fly" paperwork or animal health certificates). I am sure some of this experience depends on who is working, but I also think that entering the airport with calm dogs, already secured in size-appropriate carriers, helps tremendously.


Speaking of carriers, I did a LOT of research beforehand on which carriers would work for my specific dogs and this specific airline. Loads of people recommended the Sturdibag XL/XXL to me, but I read several accounts from people who traveled La Compagnie in 2023 with the larger Sturdibags and had some issues at check-in and/or on the plane. One person in a Facebook group told me she used the Pecute Pet Carrier Backpack (Size L) several times on La Compagnie, and since I already had one, I decided to get another and give them a go. This carrier ended up being perfect for several reasons. First, the backpack allows for hands-free travel which is honestly essential if you have any other luggage with you. Second, inside the backpack there is a little leash attachment that allows you to hook up your dog via the harness--that way, even if you have the top part open and their head is sticking out, they are still secured inside. Finally, the bottom portion expands out which gives the dog plenty of room to lay down/stretch out/sploot. I could not recommend this bag enough!



One more essential tip about flying La Compagnie: only three dogs total are allowed on each flight. I had to call the airline to make sure there was space for two dogs before I booked, and I highly recommend doing the same (especially if you are planning to travel with more than one dog). Each passenger is allowed one dog, so my mom and I had to book separately, and you'll pay an extra 10% of your total ticket fare to bring your pup with you.


There are no pet relief areas inside Orly, so after you check in make your back outside and all the way down to the end of the passenger drop off area, where you'll find a large turf space for your dogs to do their business (it's all the way to your right if you are standing facing the building).



Once back inside the airport, you'll navigate upstairs to the security screening area. I thought this process was pretty orderly and smooth, but just be forewarned that your dogs will have to go through the metal detectors (which means no collars and harnesses). Winston and Clementine are actually angels and acted like they had done this a million times, waltzing right through security like pros.



Our fare came with complimentary access to the stunning, brand new Extime Lounge. I've been really fortunate to visit a lot of different lounges all over the world, and this was by far my favorite. Spacious, immaculately clean, tons of selection for drinks and hot and cold food... and, once again, no one cared that Winston and Clementine were just chilling!



I know I've said this many times, but I'll say it again: I think a huge part of whether or not people will mind you having your dogs out has to do with their behavior. Win and Clem are used to going everywhere with me, so they don't bark or make a mess when they're in public spaces.



Before we knew it, it was time to board! We kept the babies in their carriers throughout the entire boarding process, takeoff, and the meal service. We thought it was important to do so for two main reasons: 1. We did not want to inconvenience the other passengers or the airline staff, and 2. We knew that both Win and Clem would feel more safe and secure during the beginning of the flight if they were in their carriers. A lot of people give their dogs a sedative like trazodone prior to air travel, but we decided to chance it because they seemed so calm throughout the rest of our travels (and Win has flown many times before without issue). Both dogs ended up sleeping soundly through takeoff, only waking up when they smelled the food during the meal service.


Part of the reason why La Compagnie allows bigger dogs in the cabin is because the entire airplane is 100% business class, so there's a lot more legroom.



We had beautiful views of Paris during takeoff. See if you can spot the Eiffel Tower!



Shortly after we reached cruising altitude, the crew came around to serve drinks and a light snack (trail mix).



Once meal service began, the flight attendants brought out the starter (lobster with vanilla and buckwheat) and desserts (caramel mille-feuille and a cheese selection) first.



For mains, the choice was between a cod fillet in a shellfish and coconut sauce or confit of veal shank. I don't eat veal, so I had to default to the cod. I normally don't order fish on planes, but this was actually quite good.



After the meal service concluded, we decided to give the dogs a break from the carriers. Once again, there are competing accounts of how tolerant flight attendants are of dogs being outside carriers on La Compagnie, but our fantastic crew seemed very unbothered.




I brought our own puppy blankets from home to help Win and Clem feel more cozy.



About an hour and a half prior to landing, the crew served one more light meal: a choice of a pastry selection or a zucchini quiche.



Eight hours later, we landed in Newark! This airport actually has loads of pet relief areas--in fact, there was even one right across from the gate where we disembarked. The problem is that you are not allowed back into the main gate area after disembarking from an international flight. We panicked because we knew the dogs were probably desperate to toilet, but fortunately there was a pet relief area right before passport control. It's easy to miss so just be sure to look out for the signs.



The queues were long (if you don't have Global Entry yet, it's absolutely worth the investment). We collected our luggage at the baggage claim and went on our way. I thought at some point I would have to produce my paperwork for Win and Clem, but no one asked.


My dad picked us up at the airport (yes, he drove all the way from Boston to Newark and back in one day), and Winston immediately recognized the car and hopped in. Clem looked a bit shellshocked to be in the US...



After a LOT of traffic, we finally made it to Boston. We all got a well-deserved night of sleep and played outside all morning.



Questions? Anything I left out? Feel free to comment below and I'll answer if I can!


Thanks so much for reading. xxEm, Win, and Clem

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