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New Pet-Friendly Airline Provides a More Comfortable Way for Pets to Travel
by Tara Kain

Future airplane that will be part of Companion Air's fleet.
Traveling with dogs usually limits a dog lover's method of transportation to an automobile. If you happen to have a small dog, you might be able to bring him or her with you in the cabin of an airplane. Other alternatives are not appealing or simply not an option.

Many dog lovers do not want to place their dog in a cargo hold of an airplane. To even further limit transportation choices, trains like Amtrak still refuse to allow pets. But about three years ago, an entreprenuer name Rick Roof decided he would work on another option for pet owners. His plan was to offer a nationwide pet-friendly airline service using small aircraft. In the year 2000, Companion Air was born.

After about three years of careful planning, obtaining the proper paperwork, certifications, and continually seeking financing, this new airline is getting closer to its inagural flight. This up and coming company's airplanes will consist of single turbo-prop planes which will hold up to 6 people and several pets. People will sit in one of the seats in the front while their dogs fly in a carrier or kennel in the back of the plane. While Companion Air does not plan to let dogs ride on the seat or the floor next to you, at least you will know that your dog is safe in the cabin with you. During the flight, you may have the opportunity to visit with your pooch. This airline will be able to accommodate small kennels up to large pet kennels, including a #700 series kennel which can hold large dogs like Irish Wolfhounds, Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, Mastiffs, and Greyhounds.

While Companion Air will allow dogs to fly safely with their people, they will be using smaller aircraft. This pet-friendly airline will offer luxury seating in their pressurized cabins, but the planes will not be able to travel as fast as a larger airplane. For example, traveling across country could take two days instead of five or six hours. However, one of the big advantages of this new airline, after the fact that dogs of all sizes will be allowed in the cabin, is that they will use executive or secondary airports. This means fewer crowds of people and the ability to walk your dog through the airport to the awaiting airplane. While some of these airports do require that dogs be in a crate while in the airport, Roof says they will find and patronize the more animal friendly airports.

Ticket prices will be more expensive than a United Airlines or similar ticket, but will still be significantly less than a standard charter airline. For example, a ticket from California to New York will run about $999 per person or dog, one way. From Connecticut to Florida, the ticket will cost about $599. To save some money, your pet can flight by him or herself under Companion Air's personnel supervision.

The first flight, pending the necessary financial funding, is scheduled to take off in about a few months. In the meantime, if you urgently need or want a flight for or with your dog, they offer temporary airplane shuttle service. This service will provide an interim solution until their regular planes and flights can begin.

Airplane currently used for
temporary shuttle service.

The shuttle service can seat up to 3 people and can fit up to a #400 kennel size which can hold a dog the size of a boxer, dalmation, or collie. Keep in mind that this temporary solution does not provide much luxury. It is a small aircraft which is slower, takes longer to fly, and does not provide as smooth of a ride as a larger airplane. Pricing for the temporary shuttle service is about the same as their regular future ticket prices.

After Companion Air's flights are under way, future plans will include larger mid-size jets that can hold up to 12 people and up to 18 pets. And while planned routes will be within the lower 48 United States plus Canada, long term plans include overseas flights to Europe and beyond. To sign up for Companion Air's newsletter for the latest news and to be notified of the first flight, visit


Photos courtesy of Companion Air.






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