Soon, pet owners who live in a handful of large U.S. cities will have the ability to do that. Pet Airways plans to begin service on July 14 as the USA’s first pets-only carrier — no human passengers allowed. The introductory fare: $149 each way. For that, pets will be flown in individual crates in lighted and pressurized plane cabins, with a human attendant checking them every 15 minutes. They’ll board, just like people, from their own airport lounges and get overnight lodging accommodations on long-haul flights. Their owners can track their whereabouts at all times online. They can even earn “pet points” as frequent fliers.
Pet Airways won’t solve every owner’s needs initially. It will serve only five U.S. destinations: Baltimore/Washington International Airport, plus non-commercial airports in the New York City area, and in Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles. It’s catering to dogs and cats starting out. And it’ll fly each route once a week.
The key to Pet Airways’ success may be its choice of aircraft: the affordable, economical Beech 1900. The 1900 won’t fly as fast or as far as a jet. But unlike time-conscious humans, dogs and cats shouldn’t mind. Making more frequent stops for fuel actually is a good thing for animals. It’ll give attendants time to get the animals out of the plane for a walk and potty break.