Pets Travel ‘Fur-st Class’ With New Airline Program

Pets can travel a number of ways on a variety of airlines. Most accept them as a carry-on, some allow them as a checked bag and others allow pets to be shipped as cargo. Up until now, the process was to get a health certificate for the pet, book the flight, bring the pet and that was about it. Now, a new program has partnered a major airline with a leading veterinary practice to add a pre-flight program that promises to improve the whole experience.

Partnering with 800-hospital strong Banfield Pet Hospital, Alaska Air customers traveling with or shipping their pets in its new “Fur-st Class Care” service, get a free office visit, travel consultation and $10 discount on the health certificate required for all pets traveling in the cabin, as baggage or as air cargo.

“We know pets play an important role in our lives and we share Alaska’s commitment to fostering the human-pet bond by being one of the leading airlines for pet travel,” said Dr. Karen Johnson, vice president and client advocate for Banfield Pet Hospital. “When it comes to pets, there is nothing more important than ensuring their health and safety whether at home or on a trip. We’re proud to partner with such a well-respected organization that has a great track record of pet safety during travel.”After completing the pre-flight program, Alaska Airlines allows passengers to travel with their pets in the cabin as part of its “Fur-st Class Care” service. The airline also offers “PetStreak Animal Express” service for shipping animals via air freight in a safe and caring environment when their owner isn’t traveling with them.

“Alaska is one of few airlines that still welcomes pets onboard – both in the cabin and the cargo hold – and we’re committed to pet care and safety,” said Torque Zubeck, managing director of Alaska Air Cargo. Alaska Airlines employees receive specialized training in safely transporting pets and now exceed government guidelines by implementing new, safer kennel standards for animals traveling in the airplane hold starting in May.

Alaska Airlines should know what they are talking about. The airline, named most pet-friendly by Smarter Traveler, flew nearly 83,000 pets throughout its route system last year.

[Flickr photo by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI)]