Not long ago, I wrote about conflicts between passengers with pets in airline cabins and passengers with allergies. Today, I read about a new service that could help end the quandary of how to transport Fido without anyone suffering: A new pet-only airline.
While conventional airlines limit pets to under the seat (if they are small enough) or the cargo hold (if they are hardy enough to withstand extreme temperatures and other dangers and discomforts), Pet Airways has remodeled planes to accommodate pets right in the main cabin. Pet Airlways’ Web site has been periodically stretched beyond capacity by potential customers, showing that even in this economy, a great idea that solves a real problem can launch a travel industry start-up.
While it might seem strange for such a boutique service to debut during a recession — after all, doggie daycares and spas had their heyday in headier economic times — such a service could actually be a money saver. Without it, travelers who didn’t want larger dogs in cargo had to contemplate driving to their destination, which could certainly be more costly in time and money than Pet Airways’ starting fare of $149.
The only big drawback I can see is that owners can’t fly Pet Airways along with their pets, which could mean worries (although there is an attendant in the cabin) and, since the airline flies to smaller airports, an extra car trip to pick up the pet.
Despite the fact that Pet Airways seems to offer a nice solution to help both humans and pets fly comfortably, any mention of pets in the air seems dogged by controversy. On the LA Times’ Web site, the comments section of an article about Pet Airways degenerated into the same old battle over who is more important, pets or human passengers with allergies.
Photo by Paul Schultz, used via Creative Commons license.