For Pet Lovers, Traveling with Dogs Onboard is an Advantage of Flying Privately
Mid-May marks the start of the season when major commercial airlines restrict pets from traveling as cargo, but dog owners who fly on private jets are able to travel with them in the main cabin - the ultimate treat for pampered canine companions.
According to Bombardier Skyjet, the premier service for private business jet travel and a unit of Bombardier Aerospace, the ability to travel with pets is a major advantage for customers who don't want to leave Fido or Fifi behind during family vacations.
"Many of our leisure travelers request that their pets accompany them onboard their flights," said Alexandre Monnier, Managing Director, Bombardier Skyjet, which in 1997 pioneered real-time online booking of private jets and is a leading jet card provider. "People who have discovered this additional benefit of private jet travel try to take advantage of it when they can - and it's a trend that is growing," he noted, adding that an increasing number of luxury resorts and hotels have "pets-are-welcome" policies.
Mr. Monnier said that most airlines prohibit pets traveling as cargo from mid-May through mid-September, due to temperatures that can affect the animal's safety. Skyjet has for the past several years received phone calls from pet owners in May asking about private jet travel. "Questions about pet travel are something we've come to expect this time of year and our concierge team is well prepared to answer them," he noted.
According to Mr. Monnier, restrictions differ from airline to airline. In addition to the seasonal restrictions, some airlines also do not allow carry-on pets on certain aircraft or in first-class cabins, and still others do not accommodate pets at all, except for service animals.
However, while it is possible for pets to travel in the main cabin of a private business jet, Mr. Monnier cautions that it's not as simple as just walking up to the tarmac with your golden retriever.
Pets are categorized by the FAA as cargo, and as such they must be appropriately secured, generally in an animal carrier or kennel, during takeoff and landing for the safety of the passengers and crew. In addition, Mr. Monnier said there are some differences between what a private jet owner is allowed to do versus what an on-demand charter customer or a jet card member, such as the Skyjet Card, Learjet Card and Challenger Jet Card offered by Skyjet, can do.
Whereas a private jet owner can decide his/her own policies within the parameters of FAA requirements, a jet card-member or on-demand charter customer is traveling on an aircraft owned by someone else, and therefore must adhere to more stringent requirements.
Mr. Monnier points out that in fact not all private aircraft owners allow pets so it's important that customers ask about any restrictions or requirements when they are booking their trip. On the other hand, there are private jets in the fleet approved for the Skyjet network that are especially outfitted to carry large hunting dogs. But it's important to book early to reserve a particular aircraft.
Additional private jet travel tips from the experts at Skyjet include the following:
* When flying privately, at the time you arrange your travel mention that you plan to take your pet onboard the aircraft. This will assure that your pet's needs are anticipated, and that the aircraft can accommodate your pet.
* For long flights, you can even schedule a stop along the way to walk your animal. But it is highly inadvisable to attempt to travel with a pet that is not housebroken.
* Check with your veterinarian before sedating an animal before a flight. Some vets recommend against sedating pets as altitudes can affect how they respond to sedatives. It may depend on the type, breed and health history of the animal.
* Remember there are special restrictions and procedures for international travel.
Pampered Skyjet Sky-pets
In addition, Skyjet is pleased to announce a special pet lovers jet card program. According to Angela Ferragamo, director of marketing for Bombardier Skyjet, members who purchase the Skyjet Card, Learjet Card or Challenger Jet Card, offering blocks of 25, 50 or 100 flight hours on private jets, can enroll their four-legged friends as a Pampered Skyjet Sky-pet. Pets will receive an enrollment package that includes a personalized sterling silver collar charm, along with the ultimate pet gift basket - a magnificent collection of gourmet treats and high-end pet products - and even their own jet card.
According to Ms. Ferragamo, the Skyjet Sky-pet program is more than just a fun promotion; it's designed to capture information about card-members' pets so that Skyjet can accommodate them individually and luxuriously. "When we arrange flights for members who sometimes travel with their pets, we want to anticipate their needs and exceed their expectations," said Ms. Ferragamo. "We want to provide a superior travel experience for each and every member of the family."
About Bombardier Skyjet
Founded in 1997 and acquired by Bombardier Aerospace in 2000, Bombardier Skyjet offers the Skyjet Card for frequent private jet travelers. The Skyjet Card offers members a choice of 25, 50 or 100 flight hours in a preferred size of aircraft, and guaranteed availability with a 12-hour advanced reservation. By charging a simple hourly rate for each hour flown, the Skyjet Card eliminates the deadhead costs associated with one-way jet travel and takes the confusion out of charter jet pricing. Bombardier Skyjet is the only jet card provider offering the option of earning credit toward whole or fractional aircraft ownership. In addition, the Learjet Card and the Challenger Jet Card offer members the opportunity to specify the Bombardier Learjet 31/31A, Bombardier Learjet 60 or Bombardier Challenger 604 as their aircraft of choice. Bombardier Skyjet also offers On-demand business jet charter through its quality network of operators. For more information or to book a trip, customers can call 1-888-2-SKYJET or visit www.skyjet.com.
A world-leading manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions, from regional aircraft and business jets to rail transportation equipment, Bombardier Inc. is a global corporation headquartered in Canada. Its revenues for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2005 were $15.8 billion US and its shares are traded on the Toronto stock exchange (BBD). News and information are available at www.bombardier.com.
Bombardier, Skyjet, Learjet, Learjet Card, Challenger and Challenger Jet Card are trademarks of Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiaries.