US pets to travel in style

A NEW airline will start flying in July in the US dedicated to shipping pets around the country.

Florida-based Pet Airways will allow concerned pet owners, who have up to now been uncomfortable entrusting their pets into the bellyhold, with all the dangers that that can entail, to ship them in the main cabin instead.

Dan Wiesel (right), president and chief executive officer of Pet Airways said: “Currently, most pets travelling by air are transported in the cargo hold and are handled as baggage. The experience is frightening to the pets and can cause severe emotional and physical harm, even death. This is not what most pet owners want to subject their pets to, but they have had no other choice, until now.”

Pet Airways’ website says: “From check-in at our Pet Lounge, and throughout the flight, our Pet Attendants will be caring and catering to all your pet’s needs. You can even monitor how your pet is doing.”

A Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals study found that of the two million animals shipped every year in the US, about 5,000 are injured during the journey. The most common cause of death is suffocation or heat stroke due to cargo holds being unpressurised and having no temperature regulation.

Initially, the airline will serve Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC although there are concrete plans to expand nationwide in the near future. Prices start at around US$150 (£100). The airline will use a Beech 1900 aircraft with plans to increase the fleet depending on demand.

While some may consider the concept a gimmick and unlikely to be sustainable the response thus far has seen the website registration and booking system so overwhelmed that is has crashed at least once since going live.

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