'Pets Only' Airline Takes Off in L.A.

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LOS ANGELES -- A new airline that caters only to the four-legged crowd takes its inaugural flight.

On Tuesday, the first flight for the husband-and-wife team's Pet Airways, the first-ever all-pet airline, took off from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, N.Y.

All commercial airlines allow a limited number of small pets to fly in the cabin. Others must travel as checked bags or in the cargo hold -- a dark and sometimes dangerous place where temperatures can vary wildly.

Binder and Wiesel used their consulting backgrounds and business savvy to start Pet Airways in 2005.

The last four years have been spent designing their fleet of five planes according to new four-legged requirements, dealing with FAA regulations and setting up airport schedules.

The two say they're overwhelmed with the response.

Flights on Pet Airways are already booked up for the next two months.

Pet Airways will fly a pet between five major cities -- New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles.

The $250 one-way fare is comparable to pet fees at the largest U.S. airlines.

A trip from New York to Los Angeles, for example, will take about 24 hours.

On that route, pets will stop in Chicago, have a bathroom break, play time, dinner, and bunk for the night before finishing the trip the next day.

Pets, called "pawsengers," fly in the main cabin -- not the cargo hold --and a trained pet attendant monitors onboard animals, according to the airline.

If you don't have a pet carrier, the airline provides one for free.

Potty breaks are also provided throughout the traveling process, according to the airline.

The airline requires that you drop your pet off at their Pet Lounge, located at the airport.

There's also an overnight "Paws Lodge" for pets that need to be dropped off up to 72 hours before their flight.

Pet owners are not permitted onboard.

There is no size limit for pets.

Pet Airways is only accepting dogs and cats right now, but reptiles, birds, pigs and "other" pets are coming soon, according to the company's Web site.

And just like human airlines, you can track your pet's flight status online.


More information: http://petairways.com/

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