This year when we got new contracts to teach in South Korea, Josh and I made sure to get contracts that allowed us to bring Aurora with us. Since we both wanted to work and live around Seoul we took separate contracts which enabled us both to find dog friendly positions.
After packing up two giant suitcases, a medium backpack, small roll on luggage and a giant dog crate we were off to LAX! I made sure to limit Aurora’s food intake before the flight because I knew she would try and hold her poop in and didn’t want her to be uncomfortable. I took her for the coldest So Cal walk of my life at 4 am to make sure she got to stretch her legs for the long journey ahead.
Once my mom and I arrived at LAX we loaded up all my luggage on one cart and Aurora on another and went to check in!
To bring Aurora from Southern California to South Korea I made sure to book a direct flight from LAX to Incheon. The journey was ticketed at about 14 hours but from my own experience it usually takes closer to 13 hours. And those were some pretty rough hours for us all. I had made sure to call the airline I would be flying with (Asiana Airlines) multiple times in advance to make sure that I had all the airline’s requirements met for bringing a medium sized dog on an international flight. The cost of Aurora’s ticket was $200 for her to fly in the cargo area, which is about the same price as brining an extra suitcase!
After checking Aurora in, she was wheeled off to a special TSA area in the check in area where they checked out her crate before I zip tied the crate door shut. Asiana required that we zip tie the doors shut, they provided me with zip ties but Josh read online you could buy zip ties that are reusable and don’t have to be cut off so I opted to use those instead. Aurora was really anxious on this day, she knew something crazy was happening but there was really no way for her to know what was going on. But, Josh and I are planning on staying in Korea for at least another year so we figured one day of discomfort would be a good trade for a year of happiness with her mom and dad.
Once I checked in and was waiting for my flight I somehow ran into my uncle, who was waiting to board the same flight! I didn’t even know he was going to Korea so this was quite a surprise to us both!
I really do love flying with Asiana, they are a tad bit more expensive than Korean Airlines but their planes and service really are great! Each seat gets its own TV that comes stocked with movies and allows you to track your progress on the flight. They also provide a USB charger and outlet for each seat which helped me out so I could keep my phone charged on the journey.
The menu for the flight was the same menu from when Josh and I flied with Asiana Airlines over a year ago. There were Korean and Western dishes for both meals. I recently converted to the vegetarian lifestyle so I made sure to call in advance to book vegetarian meals. This was pretty great, my food came out first for both meals, and I was even provided with a vegetarian snack.
As I expected, the food was pretty good for airline food! Both vegetarian meals were Indian food and tasted decent.
13 hours after the flight left our plane landed in Incheon and I was more than ready to claim back my puppy!!! Immediately after leaving the plane I went to baggage claim and found all my luggage. Luckily for me the people who worked at the airport helped me load my luggage onto a cart and directed me to where Aurora was being wheeled off the plane. They then helped me take her to the Customs area for animals.
At Customs I gave them Aurora’s paperwork, opened her crate so they could scan her micro chip, signed for her being in the country and then we were off!
Luckily for me my new employers were waiting for me right outside of the terminal so I didn’t have to wheel around with Aurora and my luggage by myself for too long. Another bonus was that my bosses drive a larger SUV which fit all the luggage and huge dog crate just fine. After a quick pit stop at the park to let Aurora relieve herself and then a quick stop at my new school to say “hi,” Aurora and I were taken to my new apartment!
I have to say, moving to Korea with a dog was pretty stressful but not nearly as stressful as I had built it up in my mind to be. The most difficult part of the journey was being on the plane and unable to see Aurora and check on her while she was in cargo. Every time we hit some turbulence I felt sick knowing it was probably way worse for her to experience. But, she arrived safely and adjusted very well to life in Korea!!!! I’ll post more on her soon, she’s quite the city dog now!