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Pet Airways Hits A Bit Of “Ruff” Air

Pet Airways, the pets-only airline that has transported more than 7,000 dogs and cats since it launched in 2009, appears to be having some difficulties.

Pet Airways Image

Photo Credit: Dave Weaver/Associated Press

The New York Times reported on Friday that Pet Airways did not fly at all between December 16th and January 16, and it was undetermined if they’ve had any flights since. According to the article, pets have been stranded and owners are upset:

“Dog and cat owners are angry about canceled flights. Travel sites are abuzz with complaints, including customers who claim they have not received refunds for paid-for flights.”

The company’s co-founder, Alysa Binder, acknowledged in an e-mail to the Times that Pet Airways has had some problems since November, when it decided to contract a plane from a new company. Binder told the Times that when it became apparent the new relationship was not working, Pet Airways switched back to its previous contractor, but needed to cancel “some flights during the holidays and into the new year” because that plane was committed elsewhere. “We are working toward being in the air as soon as we can be assured that the planes are ready for our use,” Binder said.

Despite the cancellations, Pet Airways continues to take reservations on it’s website and lists it’s next available flight as departing from Los Angeles on Tuesday, March 13th. That flight will stop in Phoenix, Denver and Omaha, where it will spend the night, and then continue on Wednesday the 14th to Chicago, New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, and Ft. Lauderdale. On Thursday the plane reverses the route and lands back in Los Angeles on Friday the 16th. The company is scheduled to complete this circuit twice per month.

Hopefully this is just a hurdle in Pet Airways continued rise to success, but some disclosures about their financial stability raise further concerns. The Times reports that at the end of the year the company had roughly $30,000 in cash on hand, and a stated need of $25,000 to $55,000 per month to operate. It’s clear they won’t survive long if they’re not flying again soon. In February, Pet Airways wrote in a regulatory filing, “We have experienced a history of losses and have yet to begin generating positive cash flows from operations and, as a result, our auditors have raised substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.”

Pet Airways FoundersIt’s sad to see Pet Airways struggling. They are a savior for many people who won’t fly their pets in the cargo hold on the major airlines, but can’t afford a private charter flight. Rod and I feel connected in some way to the husband and wife team that founded Pet Airways at about the same time that we launched GoPetFriendly.com. Between our two companies, we cover the needs of the pet travel community – whether you’re traveling by car, by air, need a pet friendly hotel, a place to eat, or are looking for dog friendly destination advice. We hope this “ruff” patch doesn’t last long and they’re off and flying again soon.

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  • I hear ya, Robert. Unfortunately, in the time that has passed since I wrote that post, it looks like Pet Airways has folded. It was such a fantastic idea and would have helped so many pets travel more safely – I’m really sorry it didn’t work out.

  • Robert Farr says:

    They need to expand to Seatle. Ive been in the airport loby (I worked for a airline) and have herd alot of people complain about putting their pet in the cargo hold. I have seen cargo holds in aircraft. You would not want your pet there. I hope they can work this out, this is a great idea for pet transport. I wish I could work there.

  • Do you have any update to offer? Their facebook page and website appears to be defunct now…what a shame, it was a great alternative to offer to people. I’ve not had a need to fly my dogs, but this would have been the only way I would do it…

  • This is a shame – Pet Airways provides a very useful and important service. Thanks for the news!

  • I hope they turn around as I thought I might have need of them in the next year.

  • That is sad to read, just like Kristine said, I hope they find a way to turn things around. It would be said to lose such an important service to many.

  • That’s sad to hear that Pet Airways is struggling. I’ve never had my dogs fly, but if I did I’d probably use Pet Airways rather than have them fly in cargo. Hopefully they are able to turn things around.

  • That is too bad. I know airlines are incredibly expensive to run. In Canada so many have shut down and gone bankrupt over the years. It sounds like a very difficult industry to get into. For Pet Airways’ sake, and the sake of many pet owners who will benefit from the service, I hope they are able to turn their company around and see a lot of future success!

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