Marketplace Scratch Pad

New airline food – Milkbones

Scott Jagow Apr 21, 2009

A Florida couple is starting an airline just for pets. Petairways will begin flying in mid-July from regional airports near five cities — NY, Washington, Chicago, Denver and LA. A very intelligent Border Collie will fly the planes. The flight attendants are all highly-qualified Australian Shepherds.

But seriously, no humans are allowed on board, except for the pilot and the pet attendants who will take care of the airline’s “pawsengers.” Their word.

Pets will travel in a Beech 1900, a small turbo-prop with the seats taken out. The cabin will be climate-controlled and someone will check on the pets in their carriers every 15 minutes.
Pet owners can track their pet’s travel on the Petairways website.

Is there a market for this? Well, the major airlines have increased fees for taking pets on board and made it more difficult to put pets in the cabin. And I know a lot of people refuse to leave their doggy unattended in the cargo hold, so yeah, maybe there is. It won’t be cheap. A round-trip ticket will cost around $300 to start.

Co-founder Alysa Binder explains that one of her co-entrepreneurs is Zoe, a Jack Russell terrier:

With Zoe as part of our family, planning vacations was always a little more complicated. Visiting out-of-state friends or relatives required sophisticated logistics. Weekend getaways always had to be close to home.
It wasn’t Zoe’s fault of course. It was the airlines’. There was simply no safe way for Zoe to comfortably fly with us. She’s not a big dog. Just a little one. But a little too big to fit under the seat.

As someone who has driven cross-country with an angry, vomiting cat, I say — god bless these people. After that experience, I probably would pay $300 for a cat airline ticket. At our morning meeting, though, someone poo-pooed the pet airline idea and said the cargo hold works fine. What about you? Interested?

Here’s an interview with the company’s co-founder:

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