Trying to fly aboard a commercial airline with your pet can be a pain. To avoid the hassle altogether, more and more people are opting for private jets when traveling with their cats or dogs.
The trend, which started gaining serious momentum in 2020, has sparked an influx of new companies and services designed to streamline jet-setting with furry friends. Industry newcomer K9 Jets, for instance, flew its first pet-packed plane on Friday, as reported by The New York Times.
“We feel really good because the dogs will be by our sides,” Dee McLaughlin, who flew on K9 Jets’ inaugural flight with her partner and their two golden retrievers, told the Times. She had “absolutely dreaded” the idea of putting Bentley and Murphy in cargo.
When flying commercial, you have a few options for what to do with your pets depending on the airline. Most animals face size restrictions for being allowed on board in a carrier, while some companies won’t fly particular breeds. If placing a dog in cargo, owners often worry about issues such as the temperature, the ventilation, and how employees handle the animal.
That’s where charter companies like K9 Jets come in. The private airline currently offers flights between New York and Paris, Lisbon, and London. (A seat on a K9 Jets flight will set you back about $9,000. You can buy a separate seat for Fido, or your pet can sit on the floor for no added charge.) From May to September, it has 17 listed flights, and eight are already sold out. Adam Golder, the founder of K9 Jets, told the Times that the company is planning to add more flights this summer thanks to demand, and in the fall it might expand to cities like Dubai.
“There are hundreds of people that are waiting for a flight,” Golder said. “I think people don’t want to put [their pets] in a crate and wave goodbye to them.”
To get from Los Angeles to New Jersey to board the K9 Jets plane, McLaughlin and her partner had already taken four flights with their dogs. To get to Ireland, their final destination, they would rent another private jet from London. In total, they’re spending more than $35,000 for the privilege of flying side by side with Bentley and Murphy, two very lucky pups.