In the United States of America, taking pets on air travel is not only widespread, but under certain circumstances there is even a right to allow emotional support animals to be taken along. It is actually logical that dogs and cats are not allowed to be sent through the hand luggage scanners, but this is often ignored.
Many US carriers allow you to bring small pets, which can be stored in a carrier under the front seat. However, there are a few exceptions that generally do not allow animals to be transported in the cabin. But there is a loophole here, because guide dogs and assistance dogs as well as “emotional companions” are almost always allowed to be taken along. The latter is occasionally exploited, as giant constrictors have been declared “emotional support animals”. While you have a good chance of getting away with a small dog or cat, it is hardly surprising that the airline will be less accommodating when it comes to large snakes and especially rodents.
In addition, there are passengers who think they have to take their pet with them “unofficially”. In other words, it can simply be stowed in a piece of hand luggage and then no one will notice it. It is obvious that this type of transport is certainly not pleasant for the small pet. However, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now warning against simply sending pets through hand luggage scanners.
According to a statement from the TSA, passengers with the carrier should report to a security officer. This then carries out the security check. However, the TSA also writes that a large number of passengers do not transport their pets in a special container, but simply pack them in a piece of hand luggage and simply send them through the X-ray machine at security checkpoint.
This can have serious health consequences for animals because, according to the TSA, the devices used use strong X-rays. The pet would therefore be exposed to strong radiation. The Transportation Security Administration recommends that the inspection of the animal should always be carried out in accordance with the officer's instructions. In most cases, the passenger then has to take the pet out of the box and walk with the animal through the passenger scanner. Depending on the size of the animal, it must be carried or can walk independently. The empty transport box is checked using the X-ray scanner for hand luggage.
The TSA also has a solution for animals that could escape or injure other passengers in a panic. If officers are made aware of this fact, the check can be carried out in a separate area. This is intended to minimize the risk of animals escaping.
The recommendations of the US Transportation Security Administration actually sound quite logical, but apparently a large number of pet owners are not aware or simply do not care that their pet is not a piece of hand luggage and therefore cannot simply be sent through the X-ray scanner.