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Page last updated at 05:15 GMT, Wednesday, 15 July 2009 06:15 UK

Pet airline welcomes 'pawsengers'

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A new airline is being launched in the United States, providing dedicated travel for cats and dogs.

Rather than consigning their four-legged flyers to the cargo hold, as on many conventional planes, Pet Airways allows passengers or "pawsengers" to ride in the main cabins of specially-converted aircraft.

Russell Trott reports.


We asked you for your views on this story. Below is a selection of your comments.

Yes I think it's a good idea. Although I don't see why dogs cannot travel in the main cabin with passengers. As long as the owner has the dog under control I don't see the problem.
Gary Holloway, Hertford UK

But do they have a solution for pet-lag?
Tom Chivers, London, UK

My wife is an air hostess and a huge dog lover. A job with this airline would be a dream come true for her! If people are willing to spend the money so their pets can travel why not? Saying that only in America could something like this get off the ground. (Pardon the pun)
Steve, Midlothian

A very good idea - over the years I have brought into the UK from USA and Asia - some of the domestic cats were quite traumatised - I am now looking into importing a cat from Switzerland - but will probably use Swissair because I have been told I can take it into the cabin which remains to be seen!
Pauline Taplin, Southampton, England UK

In this day and age of concerns re: global warming we now have an airline who are just flying pets and not human passengers. Anybody else think this is crazy? Even a compromise would be better - just have a small "pawsenger" section on a normal passenger flight - surely this would be less expensive and more economic?
Graham Sant, Plymouth

I think it's a novel idea, niche markets seem to be doing well in the recession. If I had a cat or dog it is a service that I would be happy existed. My main concern is; when we fly we can become aggravated by the change in pressure and feel it in the ears, noticeably babies and children become irritable as they may not understand or be capable of stabilising this by sucking on a boiled sweet, my questions are how will animals know what to do? Will they be in pain? and will pressure effect different pets differently?
V.S., Essex, England

I understand that this airline will be flying to the Canaries and Hamsterdam, being able to take your pet would be a great advantage rather than a Catastrophe. A few questions though - Will the on-board movies show Monty Python? , Are these aircraft piston-engined going at the speed of a Tortoise? Is this a premium or Budgiet airline? Will the staff have to Ferret around to find the animals, screaming at them and going Horse? These are of course serious questions, but some of you may think I'm having a Giraffe.
Clive, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

I think the most important thing that people need to realize is that animals are are not luggage-they are our family. Would anyone consider putting their two year old child in cargo hold? The terror these creatures must go through down in the cargo hold is something that I hate to think about. I have raised, shown and traveled with my Golden Retrievers for 40 years. I have sent and have had dogs sent to me alone as cargo. Just recently I sent a dog from Boston to NY, a mere four hour flight with a layover. It took him two days to get there because of bad weather and the fact the airline LOST him. The cost has sky rocketed because the airlines don't want to take them. The simple commuter planes that they would be able to go directly without being transferred won't be bother with them. I would so dearly love for this to be the norm and not the exception.
Debbie Kahla, Rowley

I would certainly use this type of service if it was available in Europe and from the UK. I like to travel with my miniature Schnauzer and do not like the idea of living her in kennels.
Eva, Swindon, UK

I think it's a fantastic idea. Animals as pets are often regarded as part of a family, and in many cases, substitute children. If a couple are unable to have children of their own, or simply don't want screaming brats to create 18 years of miserable hell for them, pets are the ideal solution. So why should your best friend not be allowed in the main cabin if everyone else on board are animal lovers too?
Guido Sorrentini, Bergen, Norway

Overindulgence and excessive consumption by our American cousins continues to deplete the planet's resources in a way that disaffects and disgusts many people across the globe, especially those being expected to pick up the environmental tab. So extra planes are to be put in the air for the transport of American pets - give me strength.
Hugh Knight, Watford, England

Lovely idea - but do the humans get consigned to the cargo hold????
Chrissie, London

I think it is a fantastic idea my husband and I have spent the past 2 months trying to decide how we can move from England to Florida with our 3 cats, and have wondered why no one has thought of this before. Our cats will NOT be flying in cargo. They are living creatures NOT luggage!
Sophia, Colchester,Essex

Perrrfect idea for owners to have the option and no doubt most will be in favour - providing the airline do not exploit ££ the 'pet lover'. Being ex-cabin crew it can be very stressful in the cargo hold for pets (and owners whilst their pet is in transit) and we all like company when we are stressed. I'm sure pets would be better behaved - depending on the in flight service!
Beverley, Chester, GB

A wonderful idea. That way I will visit the UK much more, and bring my Boston Terrier with me, who'll sit at my feet while I give my piano concerts!
Jessica Williams, Washington, USA

Having flown our dogs from the Caribbean to New Zealand and the stress of going the the USA with terrible ground staff. Yes it's a great idea. They "misplaced" our dogs in Miami Airport!!!
Andy, New Zealand

A dedicated airline for cats and dogs is downright valuable and expedient. Agonising images of your darling pet in confines of the cargo hold need not torture you any more. They deserve to travel in elegance and comfort as well. It is indeed an innovative step, which to begin with may work well only for cats and dogs. However, if other animals are to be included as well, lot of thinking has to be done before the plan is implemented. But the foremost question is - who will the crew (excluding pilots, of course) consist of?
Anupinder KAur, Mumbai, India

Great idea, long overdue and would love to see this service extended to the UK. We have a house in Italy and divide our time between there and the UK. We have a round trip drive of 2200 miles when our dog Freddie comes with us. As a nation of pet lovers and with more people buying property overseas, surely this is great opportunity for someone to step in and start a similar service?
Sharon Johnson, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

My first thought was that this is ridiculous and a shameful waste of fuel. My second thought was to wonder what cities they are flying into and whether I could take my pets on holiday with me, instead of leaving them in a kennel.
Carolyn Style, Ipswich, United States

Why have a dedicated airline? Why not split the average airplane into sections for passengers and pets? Perhaps a few rows at the very back of the airplane separated for dogs and cats! (You know, where the 'smoking' area used to be in the 'old' days!!!)
Esther Stringer, Bures, Suffolk, UK

How amazing! when so many are jobless and dying of starvation! I have 2 lovely cats and must admit I spend a lot of money on them - but I will not consider this airline.
Evani de Campos, Brussels, Belgium

Hoorayyyyyyy!!! Yippppppppeeeeeeeee!!!!! I am delighted to hear of the service and shall be its avid anonymous spokesman :) . It was murder arranging pet travel arrangements for my four dogs to the UK . In the end I gave up and decided to stay where I am . I would like to see the service operate from this country as I am certain all pet owners planning to travel with their pets would . I would most certainly use the service when I leave SA . It is a constructive and positive move that has to be supported with all vigour and enthusiasm . Pets are NOT luggage . They are alive and deserve to be treated to a similar service that their owners enjoy . I could write volumes and make many suggestions but I think this suffices for now as I have answered the questions in the affirmative . Yes do open the service to all pets . I will use the service and shall recommend it as well.
Bridgette Devin , Durban South Africa

Wonderful idea! And, for those who feel this is a bit over the top, I think the next time they fly, try sitting with the luggage for an entire flight.
Patty, Villa Park, USA

Like other dumb ideas, of this nature, it will be nothing but a memory in a few months. Some initial publicity, then bankruptcy.
Morgan, PV Haiti

Excellent idea !! Any of my dogs would be preferable to many of the people I have had the misfortune to sit next to on flights. Also, in general dogs are far better behaved than children, wouldn't be rude to cabin crew and would do what they are told, when they are told to do it !!!
Stuart Hindley, Holyhead, Anglesey

Great idea! My dog has a medical condition where increased stress could kill her - but if someone could check on her during the flight and give her medicine and water she would be fine. Sticking her in the hold is out of the question, so when we move to continental Europe in a few weeks time, we are all driving the 1000 miles, not flying.
Alison Walker, London, UK

This is crazy, we know that flight is a major cause of cfc's and the airlines are being heavily taxed and passing the tax on to passengers.. so they put on extra flights for pets!?! This I find greedy and stupid and will eventually come out of the tax payers pockets...get a grip America.
Shaun Hunt, Taunton, UK

I wonder if the airline has made provisions in case of a woof landing?
Ben Corrigan, Northallerton, United Kingdom

I think it is a disgrace that in our currant state of climate change we should be expanding airline services to include a whole new species. How does the American Government expect to meet targets for reducing CO2 emissions when this kind of 'service' is met with no environmental consideration what-so-ever.
Thomas, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear

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