“I’m sorry, we don’t allow children in the cabin. They’ll have to ride in cargo.”

Sounds outrageous, doesn’t it?

But it’s a familiar refrain for pet owners across the United States. Unless your pooch fits under the cabin seat, he or she is restricted to cargo.

Photo: Francisco Collazo

When Alysa Binder and Dan Wiesel became frustrated with the complications of planning vacations that included their dog, Zoe, they decided to do something about it. The idea began to take shape in 2005 and Binder and Wiesel recently announced that Pet Airways, the first airline designed for pets only, will begin flights in the United States on July 14, 2009.

Speaking with Binder, it was obvious Pet Airways takes transporting pets very seriously, and the “safety, care, and comfort” of the animals will be top priority. There will be pre- and post-flight potty breaks, as well as stops along the way. Pets will be placed in private, secure carriers in the main cabin of a cleared out Beech 1900 passenger plane.

“Pawsengers” will be monitored during the flight, and there will even be an online flight status notification and pet tracking system so clients can monitor their pets’ journey from home. Pet Airways will start their service by flying cats and dogs, but is in the process of adding exotic animals.

Pet Airways will launch out of airports in New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles. Binder and Wiesel anticipate adding 25 cities within the next couple years and are “definitely taking the interest of pet owners in consideration” when deciding which cities will be added.

Their website is already live, and provides more information about the company’s service.

Community Connection:

For more tips on traveling with your pet, check out Julie Schwietert’s article (that’s her in the feature photo, traveling with her pug, Penelope), “Ten Tips for Traveling with Pets.” And if you end up leaving your pet at home, here are four ways to remember it while you’re traveling.

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