So, since people have been asking about shipping (or moreso, the fact that we haven't been able to ship lately), and my site said we might potentially be able to start shipping again on May 1st (which is today -- the day I'm writing this), I wanted to post a quick update for you all.
In case you were not aware, we had not been able to ship for the past month+. We used United PetSafe to ship our pets, as it's one of the most reasonable priced pet shipping services, and they handle the most pets per year. Even with their lower-cost shipping, by the time we factored in the crate, gas to the airport, and so on, we were at $200 for 1-2 chins or $250 for 3-4 chins. Not horrible, but I acknowledge, still not cheap. Compare this to Delta, which I've been told does a flat rate for crates up to a certain size, of roughly $200. That's not including the crate, gas to the airport, and, most importantly.... the health certificate. Oh yes, the all important health certificate.
See, for cats and dogs, health certificates make sense. They can get shots, and they are supposed to be up to date on those shots and required vaccinations (read: rabies) in order to fly. So, the health certificate, besides showing that the animal is in good health, certifies that the animal is up to date on everything that is required. For small animals...not so much. Most people are aware that small animals do not get shots, and yearly checkups are not such a necessity for them. Some people still take them, but we are of the mindset that to take pets in actually can run the risk of them contracting something while there, and stressing them out, so we do not take them.
But the thing is... other companies require health certificates for ALL animals to fly. I'm not sure if I posted it as a blog post or not, but I had two chinchillas go to a small Wisconsin zoo... I believe it was last year. They required health certificates / vet exams, which I paid for. The health certificates for two chins were $130 (together). The vet visits / exam fee for each chin was $59. So, $59 x 2 = $118 + $130 health certificates = $248 total vet bills. Despite the fact the chins didn't sell for pennies, that cost almost took the sale into the negative, but that's beside the point. The thing is... when people would ask about the cost of shipping, I would tell them $200 for 1-2 chins. If those chins needed a health certificate / vet exam to fly... you'd need to also figure a cost of $65 (actual health certificate) + $59 vet exam = $124 in addition. So now, we're up to $324 to ship 1-2 chins. For those who didn't think $200 was reasonable, $324 is way out of the park, isn't it?
The reason I mention this all... and you may have been able to sort of put this together, by what I was talking about (or something along these lines)... is that PetSafe, with their new updates, is no longer accepting any pets other than cats or dogs, as of June 18th.
As the last two days here have been highs of 80F and 87F, respectively (and even hotter in the city)... even if this wasn't going into effect until then... it's too hot... but even if it wasn't too hot, it wouldn't matter, because reservations don't start again until July 16th, for travel beginning July 30th (when it will be obviously too hot).
...so in case you wondered where the "we can ship chinchillas" sections that were on the Home page and Available Chins pages went... they were taken down. I did leave the Shipping Info page alone (though good luck finding it!), should I need it in the future, it's just not linked anywhere at the moment.
Yes, I read, just like you did, that it says the policies will be continually updated. Should this change and they decide to allow pets again, we may be able to ship again. However, sources have indicated that prices will significantly go up (in general... regardless of small animals being allowed or not), so even if they do decide to allow small animals in the future, it may not be at a reasonable cost any longer.
Also, since the other airlines require health certificates and are more expensive to ship in general, and most people didn't think $200 was a reasonable to ship to start with.... another airline is not going to be an alternative at this point in time. Sorry for the inconvenience.