First all-pet airline hits the skies

Attention pawsengers

 
Pet Airways Co-founder Alysa Binder holds her dog, Zoe, in OmahaOn Tuesday, the first flight for the husband-and-wife team’s Pet Airways, the first-ever all-pet airline, took off from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, New York.

All commercial airlines allow a limited number of small pets to fly in the cabin. Others must travel as checked bags or in the cargo hold — a dark and sometimes dangerous place where temperatures can vary.

Binder and Wiesel used their consulting backgrounds and business savvy to start Pet Airways in 2005. The last four years have been spent designing their fleet of five planes according to new four-legged requirements, dealing with FAA regulations and setting up airport schedules.

The two say they are overwhelmed with the response. Flights on Pet Airways are already booked up for the next two months.

Pet Airways will fly a pet between five major cities — New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles. The $250 one-way fare is comparable to pet fees at the largest US airlines.

For owners the big difference is service. Dogs and cats will fly in the main cabin of a Suburban Air Freight plane, retooled and lined with carriers in place of seats. Pets (about 50 on each flight) will be escorted to the plane by attendants that will check on the animals every 15 minutes during flight. The pets are also given pre-boarding walks and bathroom breaks. And at each of the five airports it serves, the company has created a “Pet Lounge” for future fliers to wait and sniff before flights.

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