While all the full nitty gritty details of their travel itinerary are still being finalized but, essentially, here's the plan.
First, we will drive them from Phoenix to Los Angeles - because it's just too hot in Phoenix for them to travel from here to LA via plane. (Certain restrictions prevent us from carrying them on the flight, so they would be in cargo). So ... yep, that's gonna be a great eight-hour trip, given that Gracie starts howling soon as I put her in the little carrier (or the big crate), then really starts howling once I pick her up and put her in the car -- just to go to the vet. Gonna. Be. Awesome. (not.) I have to remind myself that a couple days will be just plain yukky, but it's much better than the alternative. Anyway ...
The next morning, the PetRelocation agent will meet up with us the next morning and handle their check in. They will not be going on our flight. Because if they do -- if they were to fly with us straight to Shanghai -- they would have to go into quarantine for thirty (30!) days. And we couldn't visit them during that time. Instead, they will basically travel three quarters of the way around the world to avoid that whole process. They will fly out of LAX to Amsterdam via KLM Airlines. (I've never been there, though that was the country where J's last ex pat assignment a couple decades ago...)
In Amsterdam, they'll stay in the KLM Animal Hotel. Yes, that's what it's called. And they even have a video of it!
After a stint at the hotel, they'll travel to Hong Kong (via KLM) and have another sleep over with the PetRelocation agents there. Then, they'll arrive in Shanghai -- just a couple days after we will. And I'll be standing at the gate waiting for them :).