Anyone who's experienced the stress of air travel with their pet has thought there's got to be a better way. Alysa Binder and Dan Wiesel thought they could do better, and the result is Pet Airways, which starts flying pets around the country in July 2009.
From drop off to pick up every aspect of the pet's comfort has been thought through, with pre- and post-flight walks, comfortable waiting areas, and boarding on either side if necessary. The animals are walked (or carried) onto the plane where they board the main cabin, escorted by pet attendants. The interior of Pet Airways' planes have been converted to carry 50 pets and the attendantsâ€”not pet owners. Kennels in all sizes are mounted to vertical rows, and each pet travels in comfort and safety inside the cabin, not underneath.
The airline hopes to grow to 25 cities in the next few years, but will start out with service to Washington D.C., New York City, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles, initially once a week. Pet Airways chose a well known and admired turboprop, the Beechcraft 1900 for its fleet, which will be operated by Suburban Air Freight, an Omaha-based carrier. The journey will take a bit longer than most of us are used to as it will stop every few hours to refuel, but the benefit is bathroom breaks for the pets.
The service isn't perfectâ€”the airports are probably not the ones you'll be flying to, and the initial service is limitedâ€”but for those who want the best for their pets and can't afford to charter a plane, it's a great start. Launch pricing is only $149 each wayâ€”comparable with freight fees on most passenger airlines. Visit Pet Airways for all of the details, and follow them on Twitter.
Watch their commercial below: