Future airplane that will be part of Companion Air's
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
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
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 http://www.companionair.com/register.php.
Photos courtesy of Companion Air.