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Pet owners know how much of a hassle it can be taking a furry friend along for a trip. Driving cross country with a dog or cat in tow can lead to cramped quarters for humans and their quadruped counterparts whereas commercial air travel requires pets to fly in dangerous cargo quarters. But do not despair! A safer way for pets to travel is coming to an airport near you.

Beginning in May, 2009, Pet Airways became the first ever pet-only airline that transports cats and dogs across the United States safely and securely. The airline is the brainchild of husband and wife Alysa Binder and Dan Wiesel, who found it troublesome to visit far away friends and family with their Jack Russell Zoe in tow. Unsatisfied with the unsafe way the couple found their dog was being treated by people-oriented airlines, they decided to create a pet-friendly airline of their own.

“Instead of trying to convince the human airlines to treat pets better, why not start up an airline just for pets? And Pet Airways was born,” the couple say on the Pet Airways web site. “Whenever we tell people about Pet Airways, the response is so overwhelmingly positive, we're still amazed we were the first to make it happen.”

The process for flying your pet on Pet Airways is simple. Pets are dropped off at the Pet Lounge at the local airport at least two hours before flight, or even better, they can be boarded at the airline’s PAWS Lodge up to 72 hours before their flight. When the planes are loaded, pet attendants will be there to make sure all animals are secure in the Pet Airways provided carriers, receive potty breaks, and any care they might need. The “pawsengers” of the flight are checked upon by an attendant every fifteen minutes. Pets travel in the main cabin of the plane and you can check on your pet’s flight using the airline’s  Pet Tracker software.

The plane used for the flights is a specialty Beech 1900, which is a plane currently flown by many major airlines across the world. Usually a 19 passenger plane, Pet Airways has stripped the plane of human seats and overhead bins to more adequately and safely house their “pawsengers.” Of course, the airline has installed a restraint system to keep pet carriers in their places.

Pet Airways currently has hubs in major cities across the country including Baltimore, Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago and Denver. The Pet Airways site provides information on how to pack your pet for the flight as well as safe flying tips from registered veterinarians.

Currently, a round trip ticket for a pet from Los Angeles to New York begins at $299, while a trip from New York to Chicago and Los Angeles to Chicago is priced starting at $199. Prices depend on the size of the pet and the distance of transportation. Human flight reservations can also be made through Pet Airways.

For more information or to book a flight, visit www.petairways.com. To track your pet in flight, go to www.PetTracker.com.
www.Dishmag.com / Issue 110 - September 2018
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