So, the great saga of exporting cats from Singapore is now complete, but it ended in near disaster.
Everything was going great. We got up on time. We got to the airport on time. The Philippine Airlines attendants saw us in the line and pulled us into the business class line to have the cats taken care of. We wound up paying 330 SGD for the cats to get on the plane. The rate was about 20.50 SGD per kilogram.
Then, they were tagged and wheeled away in their carriers. We were assured that they would be taken good care of. I’m not sure where things went wrong, but I think it must have been with the ground crew that loads the planes.
We were already on board and seated when we looked out the window and saw one of those baggage trucks with the cat carriers pulled up alongside the plane. I even took a photo, thinking it was neat that we had such good seats for watching them get put on the plane.
That’s when disaster struck. We saw a guy holding up a broken carrier. The carrier was broken in the middle. I don’t know how they managed to do it, other than to think that maybe they put something too heavy on top of the carrier and it caused it to fall apart. Why would they be putting something heavy on top of a cat carrier that has a live animal in it in the first place?
A guy bolted out of view, presumably chasing Marble.
I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I put all that effort into securing my pet’s passage to the Philippines and she almost ran off into the airport somewhere, to meet who knows what kind of fate. I ran back out of the plane and into the boarding area to ask the women there just what was going on. I told them what the situation was, and that I saw the empty carrier and pressured them to get everything taken care of.
My wife called me on my mobile from her seat in the plane and said that she saw them bringing the carrier back with Marble inside of it. The attendant then talked to someone on her walkie-talkie and confirmed what my wife had said. So, relieved, I went back down the boarding ramp and back to my seat.
That wasn’t the end of the drama though.
There was some banging around under the plane and I started to wonder just what the hell they were doing to my cats. Then, about 5 minutes later they began to unload all of the cargo from the plane. They had broken the carrier again and Marble was running amok under the plane.
I offered to go under the plane myself and secure the carrier because I figured I’d have an easier time of it than they would, but they said that for security reasons they couldn’t let me do that. So, we sat there. Eventually the pilot made an announcement about why we were still sitting there 30 minutes after the plane was supposed to have taken off, and everyone got a good laugh out of it, but I didn’t think it was all that amusing. I was worried about my cat.
At about 11:30 AM, 45 minutes after the plane was supposed to take off, they finally had Marble secured in her carrier, the cargo reloaded and they were closing the plane doors.
I spent the entire flight worrying about how my cats were. After a fiasco like that, I didn’t have much confidence in the airline’s ability to handle my pets properly.
Thankfully, things went incredibly smoothly in Manila. We rushed off the plane to the baggage area, but our cats still beat us to the baggage claim area. It seems like NAIA knows what ‘Priority’ tags mean. It means take care with these animals, and move them along quickly, rather than put heavy stuff on the carrier and crack it open.
By the way, this is what the carrier looked like after the ‘fix’ at Changi Airport:
Anyway, the paperwork was done in a matter of minutes. We didn’t even have to take the cats anywhere. The workers came to us and helped us get through the paperwork while I was pulling our luggage off the carousel. That’s some good service!
The cats were a little terrified, but when we got into the taxi the quiet and the air conditioning put them right to sleep, all the way to Antipolo.
Stay tuned for more updates on how the cats are adjusting to their new home!