Many jet-setting pet owners were cheered when a new animals-only airline, Pet Airways, launched this past summer. Now Pet Airways is giving animal-loving travelers an additional option: Flights between New York and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. for dogs and cats.
Pet Airways offers a unique alternative to the only options that existed previously for traveling with pets via air -- shipping them in the dark underbelly of a commercial airplane or carrying pint-sized pets on as luggage. The new airline employs small turboprop airplanes called Beech 1900s, removing the existing human-sized seats and replacing them with animal carriers to transport pets.
The airline's owners, husband-and-wife team Alysa Binder and Dan Wiesel, decided to create Pet Airways after a particularly harrowing experience traveling with their own dog, a Jack Russell terrier named Zoe. "The cargo hold is scary, dark, unattended," Wiesel told The Times of Zoe's one and only trip in an airplane's underbelly. "I was so stressed out."
He and Binder spent four years getting Pet Airways off the ground, and, he says, they've heard from many pet owners singing the airline's praises since it launched in July. "We have been overwhelmed by all the positive feedback to our mission of flying pets safely and comfortably in the main cabin, not in cargo," he said. "It is so fantastic to see the happy faces of all the pets and pet parents after the flights."