On 2 December 2017 I am flying from Los Angeles, CA (LAX) to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (KUL) with a layover in Tokyo, Japan (NRT - Narita). I will be flying with two cats who have proper documentation through the United States and Malaysia. I have some questions about transporting them from Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur.
My flight details are:
Depart: 02 December 2017 Los Angeles (LAX)
Arrive: 03 December 2017 Tokyo (NRT - Narita)
--6 hour layover--
Depart: 03 December 2017 Tokyo (NRT - Narita)
Arrive: 04 December 2017 4:30 AM Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
From Los Angeles to Tokyo the cats will travel through United Airlines pet cargo service PetSafe. Once they land in Tokyo I must pick them up and recheck them as cargo for my Malaysia Airlines flight so that they arrive in Kuala Lumpur when I do. Unfortunately, from my communication with Malaysia Airlines it seems they want me to check them in 5-hours in advance.
My concerns with this are:
A) deplaning in Tokyo and making my way to the pet cargo claim area, then reentering through security with the cats and rechecking them with Malaysia Airlines in an hour seems impossible. Malaysia Airlines made it seem like if I were a little under 5 hours it would be acceptable, but I'm worried about risking it.
B) The cats will be coming off of an 11 hour flight from LAX to NRT. I was hoping to find a family/single stall bathroom where I would let them out of their carriers for a bit while I cleaned out any accidents/cleaned up the cats/let them eat for a bit. I'm worried immediately checking them in 5 hours in advance for a 7 hour flight (from Narita to KL) will be detrimental to them.
C) I will be paying for United Airline's PetSafe service for the first leg of my flight, which is a fee based on animal weight and separate from my baggage. However, since I must recheck my baggage and the cats for Malaysia Airlines, I am assuming I must re-pay for all of my baggage. Malaysia Airlines customer service said that they do not differentiate between luggage and the cats as far as weight and fees go, so essentially I get 30 kilos for free and anything additional to that is $40 USD per kilo. Considering I will have ~100 lbs of luggage (I'm moving for a year-long assignment) and the cats and their carriers will weigh around 60 lbs., I'm looking at astronomical baggage fees for the flight from Narita to Kuala Lumpur. Is there any cheaper alternative to getting my luggage from NRT to KUL? I see in the "Top questions about Air Travel" FAQ they address the "most significant flight" loophole. Would that be applicable?
Any advice you all could offer on this front would be much appreciated!!
Additionally, I have already arranged my pet permit and booked my quarantine space in Kuala Lumpur. Once my flight arrives at KUL, where do I retrieve the cats? My flight will land at 4:30 AM, will I be able to pick them up outside of business hours? Are there any special rules regarding transferring them from the airport to the quarantine facility? Does anyone have experience with this?
Thank you in advance for any info you can provide!!