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July 20, 2009

No More Cargo Seats: Pet Airways Launches

Pet Airways: What Bo would choose if he didn't have Air Force One.

by Ondine Cohane

I want a dog. A small dog with a big dog personality. But is it responsible for a writer who goes on the road at least every two weeks--New York, Miami, Hawaii, Mexico, Colombia, etc. etc.--to procure a pup?

It is still far from clear, but I must admit that I was heartened to read about the launch of the five-airplane fleet of Pet Airways this week. The brainchild of Dan Wiesel and Alysa Binder, whose Jack Russell had simply had it with traumatic cargo experiences, this new service shuttles Fido and Whiskers from New York to Washington, D.C., Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles in the main cabin (one might say first class). Fares aren't necessarily cheap--$199 one way from New York to Chicago and $299 from New York to Los Angeles (animal transport fees at most major airlines run about $150)--but for peace of mind it seems a no-brainer. (I've read plenty of horror stories about someone's beloved canine escaping from cargo handlers never to be seen again, or suffocating en route.) With pick-up and drop-off lounges, complimentary pre-boarding walks, attendants on hand to check air temperature and food every 15 minutes, and special lodges for overnight stays, this airline is fit for the most well-pawed of pooches.

Despite it seeming to be a risky economic venture in these times, the carrier is already booked for the next two months. Now I will just have to wait for them to add international routes.

Further reading:
* Kitty Goes to Memphis, and Other Tales of Flying Fur
* Word of Mouth: The buzz worldwide


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