April 16, 2009: Pet Airways today announced that it will launch the first pet-only airline specifically designed for the safe and comfortable transportation of pets, with the first pet flights scheduled for July 14, 2009. On Pet Airways, all pets travel in the main cabin not in the cargo hold.
Serving five cities to start - New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles - Pet Airways plans to expand nationwide with easily accessible pet check-in lounges to serve its "pawsengers" in major metropolitan areas.
A proprietary web-enabled reservation system will allow customers to book pet travel on the web. Owners will b e able to track their pet's travel progress online at http://petairways.com/
According to Dan Wiesel, president/CEO of Pet Airways: "Currently, most pets traveling 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."
Background on Pet Travel
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, approximately 76 million cats and dogs travel with their owners each year.
Despite the high number of pets traveling, relatively few currently travel by air. This is not surprising, considering the conditions under which most pets must travel. Many airlines allow small pets to travel with their owners, stowed under the seat, but most airlines will only accept one or two pets per flight. Pets that are too big to fit under the seat are relegated to cargo, and unfortunately in many cases, are treated as such.
Recently, several airlines announced they will no longer accept pets on board their aircraft. . In addition, airlines that do accept pets as cargo will not accept them when outside temperatures are below 45 degrees or above 85 degrees, or in other words, during the most popular winter holiday or summer vacation months. Pet parents should=2 0be aware that a cargo hold can quickly reach temperatures over 120 degrees.
"Travel can be a very noisy and scary experience," says Patty Hegwood, animal care director for Best Friends Animal Society, one of the nation8 0s best known animal welfare organizations. "It is incredible that there are folks like Pet Airways who are committed to safe air travel for animals. This will be a real benefit to pet owners and shelter/rescue organizations that transport animals on
a regular basis."
Pet owners who want to transport their pets across the country are faced with
limited or dangerous transportation choices.
A study by the San Francisco SPCA, found that of the two million animals transported in the cargo holds of commercial airliners per year, approximately 5,000 are injured in transit.
According to the Animal, Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS), "virtually every major airline has been cited and fined for repeatedly mishandling animals". As a result of a lack of oxygen and temperature control in the cargo holds, the most common causes of death are suffocation and heat prostration, although one airline was cited for placing a dog too close to a motor, which burned the animal.
Put simply, passenger airlines are not a safe mode of transportation for our pets.
The Pet Airways Experience
The greatest issue facing pet parents when they want to transport their pets, aside from the dilemma and trauma of putting their loved ones in cargo holds, is the inability to know who, if anyone, is taking care of their pet and where or how their pet is being treated. It is a very stressful experience. Pet Airways has solved this problem completely.
Pet Airways ensures pets are in the good hands of people who love and know how to take care of pets. From the moment a pet is dropped off at a Pet Lounge, the pet is always under the care of trained Pet Attendants. Monitored by Pet Attendants, pets will fly in planes that are fully-lit, climate-controlled and have the proper level of fresh air circulation that pets require.
Pawsengers will be boarded and de-boarded from planes as quickly as possible, never left in the cold or heat, and depending on transit time, will be offered toilet facilities, food and water as necessary during stops. Pet Parents will be assured of sensitive, careful handling and the peace of mind that their pets are well looked after by people who care as much about their pets as they do.
The Pet Airways goal is to make the pet travel experience more comfortable and enjoyable for both pawsengers and their human families.
About Pet AirwaysFounded in 2005 by Dan Wiesel and Alysa Binder, Pet Airways was created to provide a safe and comfortable solution for the transportation of pets.
Inspiration for the concept came from difficulties encountered when shipping Zoe, their Jack Russell Terrier, across the country.