Reader Shares Experience With Pet Airways

petairwaysWe recently wrote a little post about Pet Airways, a new pet-only airline. One of our readers  made a comment about her experience with the airline, and I thought I would post it up for everyone to check out.

Please know that that views expressed in the comment are not that of–we do, however, believe it’s important to get as much information out to our readers as possible. So, if anyone has had an experience with Pet Airways–good or bad–that they would like to share, please comment below!

My dog, Charlie, is a rescue German Shepherd mix from Montgomery, AL. Since I adopted him, he has lived in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Charlie has flown on various commercial airlines (in the compartment below the plane) at least 10 times. Recently, we booked a flight for him from New York to Los Angeles on Pet Airways. I wanted to give others the benefit of my experience.

I think there are some major positives and negatives with the airline. I booked the flight well in advance and it cost me $418 (for an extra large kennel) for a one-way ticket from New York to Los Angeles. I definitely would have been able to buy a cheaper ticket on conventional airlines. Also, the flight from New York to Los Angeles is LONG – I was to drop Charlie off on Tuesday morning and he could not be picked up in Los Angeles under Wednesday evening. The reason for this delay is because his plane would be stopping in Washington, D.C. and then in Chicago where it would be overnight before heading to Los Angeles.

I was not a big fan of this long wait (especially since Charlie would be nervous for so long without his family) but decided that it was worth a try since the Pet Airways representatives explained that Charlie would be well taken care of during the layovers. The other negative was that the location of the New York airport was in Long Island about 2-3 hours away from Manhattan. Despite these negatives, I was excited about sending Charlie on an airline where the people would really care about Charlie’s well-being and happiness and I wanted to support such a business. Unfortunately, my experience made me change my mind.

On the day of the scheduled flight, I got a friend to get her mother’s car from Queens to drive me and Charlie out to the airport (Republic Airport in Long Island). Before leaving for the airport, I called one of the Pet Airways representatives in Chicago to ask if I could send a small, carry-on bag with Charlie (which contained things Charlie would need when he lived with my parents in Los Angeles). The representative told me that they would be happy to transport the bag so long it wasn’t too large. So, I packed up a bag and headed to the airport with Charlie. The drive took more than 2 hours.

When we got there, the man behind the counter was extremely nice and helpful. He proceeded to check me in. I explained that I had some things for Charlie during the flight in a plastic bag and that I had a carry-on bag that I packed with Charlie’s things for his stay in Los Angeles. The man behind the counter had to check with another gentleman to see if the bag could be taken with Charlie. The other man (who identified himself as the owner) refused to take the bag, even after I explained that Charlie needed the items in the bag when he go to LA and that a Pet Airways representative explained that I could send a bag with Charlie. But, since it was a new airline and there are sometimes misunderstandings when starting a new business as to the rules. So, I told them I understood that the bag would not go on the flight.

Then, the owner started looking through the plastic bag that I sent with Charlie. I included some bread in that bag because I figured Charlie could eat it in Chicago (he LOVES bread) and that my parents could feed it to him in Los Angeles. The owner started asked questions about the specific items in the bag and then demanded why I had to send bread with Charlie. I told the owner that it wasn’t really his business to look through the bag and judge what I am sending with my dog. He then became extremely rude and explained that my dog would not be going either if I continued.

At that moment, I was upset and stated that I wouldn’t be sending my dog with that airline and that there were plenty of other airlines which took pets and treated them well with much better customer service. The owner then walked away and the other representative apologized for the owner’s behavior. So, after my long trip to the airport in a borrowed car and with no alternative reservations for Charlie’s flight to Los Angeles, Charlie did not end up flying that day. I was extremely upset by this man’s actions and ended up having to change my plans, find another flight to send Charlie and find another mode of transportation to get him to the airport. I just did not feel comfortable sendnig my dog on a 2-day flight with an individual who was so rude to me. Someone later called me to apologize, which I appreciated. But, I still would not send Charlie on Pet Airways ever again.

While the general idea behind the airline is good, there are still many problems, including customer service. Other airlines that are good with pets are: United, Delta and Frontier Airlines (I have had good experiences with all of these).

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