Pet Airways: Offering Flights for the Four-Legged
Pet Airways is a pets-only airline that will fly your pets and ensure their safety and comfort throughout the journey.
Did you ever want to take your pet on vacation with you, but couldn't bear to let him travel in cargo?
Now there is an airline just for pets that will fly your cat, dog or small animal in the cabin of the plane!
Flying with pets is a subject of much debate in the pet world. Although many pet owners consider their pets to be a part of the family, most airlines, unfortunately, do not share that point of view.
Airlines typically have strict requirements that often prevent pets from travelling with you in the main cabin. Many airlines require your pet to be small enough to fit comfortably in a kennel under the seat in front of you. In addition, some airlines restrict certain breeds of dogs from boarding a plane.
If you are lucky enough to have a pet that meets all of the airline’s requirements and he is not a service dog, he still needs to stay in his kennel for the duration of the flight. No dogs or cats running up and down the aisles! Different airlines have varying pet policies, so be sure to do your research before you book your flight.
Airlines will make an exception for passengers traveling with service animals. However, the animal must be wearing a vest indicating its status as a service animal, and you may be asked to give verbal assurance that the animal is assisting you with a disability.
If your pet is travelling with you and does not meet the airline’s on-board requirements, he will have to stay in his crate in the cargo area of the plane where the luggage is kept. Although there are hundreds of pets flown in commercial planes every day, there are numerous health and psychological risks to checking your pet in cargo.
Many people are reluctant to fly with their dog because of these risks, and often arrange entire trips around their dog’s travel accommodations. I know a few people who have driven cross-country, rather than fly, so that their four-legged family members could join them.
From a beagle who moved from Bethesda to Seattle to a San Francisco-based couple who wanted their boxer to be in their Washington, DC, wedding, travel arrangements for our furry pals can be stressful and can throw a real wrench into travel plans. Unfortunately, driving across the country is not a cost-effective or convenient solution, and many pet owners are regularly faced with the stressful decision of deciding how to get their pets to their destination.
Pet owners rejoice: Now there is a solution that gets your pets across state lines and keeps them safe and happy! Pet Airways is an airline just for pets, and as its website promises, “your pet is not luggage. On Pet Airways your pet travels in the main cabin, transported with care and love. It’s like pet daycare in the sky.”
On Pet Airways' planes, the seats have been removed to make room for the pet kennels, and the cabin is climate-controlled and pressurized. A USDA-approved crate is provided for your pet, so you don’t need to purchase a special travel crate. Pet Airways requires its furry "pawsengers" have a vet certificate with them at all times to show that they are fully vaccinated.
So, how does pet travel on Pet Airways work?
- Pets must be dropped off at the pet lounge no later than one hour before the flight’s departure. It is recommended that the pet have a sufficient chance to potty before the flight!
- Pets’ crates are boarded by hand and placed in the cabin of the plane where a pet attendant ensures that the pets are comfortable and secure. Throughout the flight, pet attendants check on the pets every 15 minutes and provide attention and care.
- After landing, pets are deboarded, given a potty break and brought to the destination’s Pet Lounge, where they are available for pickup by owners.
There is even a feature on the Pet Airways website that allows you to track your pet’s flight in real time.
There are limitations on travel locations and dates. Pet Airways only flies to and from certain major airports and has a special flight schedule. They fly eastbound Monday through Wednesday and westbound Wednesday through Friday. If your travel plans are flexible and you live near one of the airports to which Pet Airways flies, you can select the flight that works best for you.
Pet Airways currently flies between nine cities, including Baltimore (at BWI Airport), Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, and it hopes to expand to 14 total cities in the near future.
Prices are based on the length of the trip, the size of the animal and the amount of advance notice for which you book your flight. For example, a medium-sized dog travelling from DC to Chicago on a flight booked at least 60 days in advance can cost $129 to $166.
One thing to keep in mind is that humans are not allowed to fly with the pets. This is a pets-only airline, so you will need to fly separately from your pooch or pussycat. But, it should give you peace of mind knowing that there is a pet attendant on board to give “pawsengers” constant care and attention.
If your furry friend must travel, there does not appear to be a better solution than for him to fly on Pet Airways. The airline promises to provide your pet with the care and attention he needs, even while traveling thousands of feet in the air. Pet Airways appears to offer your pet the ultimate in "fur-st class" treatment.