24 April 2009

First pet-only airline launches service for “pawsengers”

It’s not every day you hear about a new airline starting up. But here’s definitely a unique idea for one — an airline just for pets. No owners allowed.
Called Pet Airways, the airline, based in Delray Beach, Fla., will use Beech 1900s for service to and from New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles.

Owners drop off the pets — dubbed “pawsengers” by the airline — at a “Pet Lounge.” They’re given potty breaks before boarding and after landing. And pet attendants take care of them during the flight, according to the airline’s Web site. No more putting them in cargo.

Fares are charged according to the size of the pet and the distance traveled. You can track your pet along the way with the airline’s online “Pet Tracker.” Introductory fares are $149 each way. Service starts in July.

The Planes

For the safety and comfort or our pawsengers, pets fly in turbo-prop airplanes. The plane we have chosen to use is the Beech 1900. (Seen Up Top) The Beech 1900 has been and continues to be flown by many of the major airlines throughout the world and is recognized as safe and reliable. It is a 19 passenger plane that has had the “human” furnishings removed; like the seats and overhead bins. Pets are placed in their private pet carriers which are secured using our proprietary restraint system especially designed and created by Pet Airways.

How Pet Airways Flies Your Pet

Drop your pet off at our Pet Lounge

1. Drop your pet off at our Pet Lounge, located at the airport. You must check in your pet no later than 2 hours before take off. If you choose, you may check in your pet up to 72 hours before the flight. We’ll be happy to board your pet at our PAWS Lodge until the flight.

Potty Break less than 2 hours before flight

2. Potty Breaks are very important to your pet. With the human airlines, your pet could be made to hold themselves for a very very long time. Pet Airways monitors the last time your pet had a potty break, and makes sure that they get regular potty breaks along the way. This means that it may take us longer to get to where we are going, but the care of our pawsengers is our first priority.

Pets Board The Plane

3. Pets board the plane and our Pet Attendants make sure they’re all comfortable and that they, and their pet carrier, are secure.

Pet Attendant looks after the pets during the flight

4. A Pet Attendant monitors and checks the comfort of all pawsengers every 15 minutes during the flight. After landing, pets will be disembarked, given a potty break, and will be available for pickup at the Pet Lounge.

Pick up your pet and enjoy your family vacation

5. Pick up your pet up at the Pet Lounge at your destination, knowing he or she has traveled comfortably and safely in the main cabin of our plane. If you cannot pick up your pet that day, we will be happy to board your pet overnight at the PAWS Lodge.

Our goal is to make flying your pet as affordable as possible. Naturally the fare depends on how big your pet is, (actually the size of the pet carrier), and the distance your pet will travel.
We also want to keep it simple, so our fares will be based upon blocks of distances, with pet air fares as low as $149.

Pet Air Travel Price Comparison - Airlines vs Pet Airways (link below)

The airline website says: "When your pet checks in as a pawsenger on one of our flights, there will be a right-sized pet carrier awaiting him to be tucked inside before take off."
The Pet Airways site gives pet owners tips on safe transporting of animals and prepping their pet for a trip with tips such as ensuring their pet carrier is the right size and offers the right canine amenities.

The site advises that pets need:
Comfy blanket to provide warmth and cushioning on his joints
Travel water bowl
Identification on your dog and in the carrier healthy treats, a favorite toy, spare leash and collar, travel bowls, any necessary medications and spare poop bags
Flights are operated by Suburban Air Freight, Inc which operates a fleet of Beech 1900, Beech 99, and Cessna Caravan aircraft and maintains Pratt & Whitney PT6-A engines, so you know your pooch will be in safe hands.
This airline is ideal for the pet owner willing to go the extra (aeronautical) mile.

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