Me again, okay I can help you here too, IAD is the airport I use pretty much every time I fly.
OKay my first question is, is anyone flying with you or is it just you? If someone is going with you, best thing to do is drop them off at the terminal with dog and luggage and then you ore them take the car back. If not it's okay I will explain all that.
If so, how far do you have to walk from the rental car drop-off to the main terminal? If you're carrying your adult B on a crate/kennel, is it a very long walk?
There isn't one, you have to take a shuttle, the shuttle does drop you off right at the door (well across the street from the door to the main terminal). and there are those luggage carts or people with carts to help (I suggest the luggage cart, they're $3 to get but makes life much easier and a 300 series kennel will fit on those no problem (I fit my boxers kennel on them with ease, and Tiggy's kennel fit with room to stack luggage.)
Also, from the airport (departure) main entrance, how far is the walk to the domestic United Airlines counter?
Again I suggest the luggage cart, because when you walk in the door you will see a row of counters and then you'll have to go around to back of those to the united counters, the united counters are on the back left of the terminal, it's roughly 50-74 yards (if that) directly to the counter.
Then check her in as check-in baggage, then watch the plane from the tarmac to make sure she's loaded on the plane, then once on the plane, ask the flight attendant/captain to make sure my B's on the plane, then pray that she really IS on the plane, and suffer (from worry) for 5+ hours until we land… And I can't relax until I actually get her on baggage claim..
United will also have you fill out a tag that has your flight and seat number on it, then once the dog is on the plane they give the ticket to the stewardess and they bring it to you, I always ask though and pester them
I have made the exact flight you are going on (if it's the direct to San Jose). Thats an easy flight. Earlier, I had made the mistake of thinking you were having you B flown out, not that you were flying with her. I'm sorry for that, since you are flying with her you'll pick her up right near where the luggage is (but not on the luggage carousel) and she'll be out first before your luggage, they are the first off the plane.
And three hours for an adult that is crate trained should be no problem, you shouldn't need to stop… just a potty break before you check in for the flight. And you don't want to feed her for at least 12 hours before.. and not a lot of water either. For water in the crate, you can get the hanging dish and put ice cubes.. then it will just melt down if she wants any... Have you looked on line to see if there are rest stops on the freeway? I assume you are going alone? Anyway that the breeder could drive you to the airport? That would be the best thing
Airline rules state that the dog must have been fed in at least 2 hours before the flight (I know especially for United). I usually give my guys a light meal. Coming from Richmond there are a few rest stops, but once you hit 495 to the direct road to Dulles there isn't much stops. But when you go to turn in the rental there is a gas station with grassy area, that will have to be your last potty stop, and you can get some ice for her water cup there.
I have made the exact flight you are going on imbj (if it's the direct to San Jose). Thats an easy flight. Earlier, I had made the mistake of thinking you were having you B flown out, not that you were flying with her. I'm sorry for that, since you are flying with her you'll pick her up right near where the luggage is (but not on the luggage carousel) and she'll be out first before your luggage, they are the first off the plane.