The Best Airlines to Travel with a Pet:
PetAirways: The Only Pets Only Airline
The airline calls them pawsengers and they’re treated to a high-level of service. The plane’s entire cabin is devoted to safely transporting pets. The main cabin is pressurized and every animal receives individual attention. Flight attendants routinely check on pets, and water and bathroom breaks are provided. If you’re comfortable flying separate from your animal, this is a great option. At this time, PetAirways only flies to nine locations across the United States.
JetBlue: Ranks Highest in Overall Customer Satisfaction
JetBlue has a flight program just for pets. It’s called JetPaws, and booking travel with your pet will net you 300 TrueBlue points if you’re a member of the rewards program. In an effort to prepare you for travel, JetBlue provides travelers with a welcome email containing tips for traveling with your pet and will alert you if there’s a veterinarian onboard.
AirTran: Low-Cost and More Variety
Most airlines only allow you to travel with cats and dogs, but AirTran allows you to travel with dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, small birds, and more. Small animals are welcome in the plane’s cabin, which means they’ll be safe from the confines of the luggage department. Best of all, AirTran has some of the lowest pet fares.
The Worst Airlines to Travel with a Pet:
Delta and Continental Airlines: More Deaths and Injuries than Any Other Airlines
Before Delta merged with Northwest, Continental had the most deaths; however, since the merger combined the two airlines, Delta leads the pack with the most onboard pet deaths and injuries. Although Delta has more injuries, it can be argued that Continental is the worst offender because Continental flies half as many people and had a larger percentage of deaths and injuries.
United Airlines: Don’t Trust their PetSafe Program
United Airlines’ PetSafe program promises above average care for living cargo, but fails to follow through on that promise. Michael Jarboe of Miami learned that the hard way when he chose the airline because of its PetSafe program, which promised proactive shipment monitoring and climate-control. After his beloved 2-year-old mastiff, Bam Bam, died enroute to San Francisco, United Airlines informed him that not all animals are transported in climate-controlled conditions.
Overall, it’s up to you to determine your needs and budget. The best airline will make you feel confident with your selection, as well as it will treat your pet with compassionate care. It’s rare your pet will enjoy a flight, but if he’s allowed in the cabin to sit on your lap or in a seat, he may fare better than in the cargo. If he must be in the cargo, it is better that he travel in a temperature controlled environment. Airline travel is hectic and it will cause your pet anxiety, so it’s important that the flight cater to him in all ways possible.