The Airline Designed For Animals

As Simple Flying explored in a recent article, traveling with pets can be a complicated business. With several variables to consider, and policies varying between airlines, making such journeys can be more of a headache than they’re worth. For this reason, a US carrier by the name of Pet Airways came into existence.

Making the process easier

Pet Airways was the brainchild of Dan Wiesel and Alysa Binder, whose idea was prompted by a flight of their own that involved traveling with a dog. The carrier was founded in 2009, and received backing from a group of investors to help it get off the ground. It aimed to fly pets like humans, in the aircraft’s main cabin.

According to CNN, each of the airline’s planes could carry up to 50 pets, who traveled away from their human owners. However, they weren’t completely alone in the cabin. Indeed, each flight had a ‘pet attendant’ to look after them, checking on their ‘pawsengers’ (official Pet Airways terminology) every quarter of an hour.

The traveling animals were also well looked after before boarding, with specially designed lounges allowing them to use the bathroom before flying. They were also entitled to a pre-flight walk, presumably to keep them from getting restless during the flight. But where exactly did this unorthodox airline fly to and from?



Pet Airways offered a more pleasant experience than the stressful experience of an aircraft’s cargo hold. Photo: Getty Images

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A wide variety of destinations and fares

Pet Airways’ headquarters were located in Delray Beach, Florida. The sunshine state was also the home of one of the carrier’s destinations, namely Fort Lauderdale. The airline’s network strategy typically saw it serve smaller airports, such as Chicago Midway. Similarly, flights to New York used Farmingdale’s Republic Airport.

Further west, Pet Airways also flew to Meza, Arizona (for Phoenix), Hawthorne, California (for Los Angeles), and Broomfield, Colorado (for Denver). Its other destinations included Atlanta DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, Baltimore-Washington International, and Omaha’s Eppley Airfield. But how much did its flights cost?

CNN reports that fares with the carrier could start as low as $150 per animal. However, depending on the creature’s size, this figure could rise to as much as $1,200. Overall, the average fare worked out at around the $500 mark.


GettyImages-105795692 Pet Airways

Pet Airways was ultimately only active for two years. Photo: Getty Images

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Ready to return?

Unfortunately, Pet Airways had to cease operations in 2011 after just two years. This occurred after the airline ran into financial difficulties. Nevertheless, during this time, it still managed to safely transport more than 9,000 animals across the US.

Nevertheless, having looked to fund a return to the skies in recent years, Pet Airways now states on its website that it is looking to recommence operations as early as mid-2022. It will certainly be interesting to see whether it succeeds in this matter.

Did you know about Pet Airways? Perhaps you even used the carrier to transport your own pet(s) back in the day? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

Sources: CNN, Pet Airways


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