Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 12:24 UK

'Bone voyage' as pets get airline

Dan Wiesel and Alysa Binder - pic Pet Airways
Dan Wiesel and Alysa Binder got the idea while travelling with their dog Zoe

A new airline scheduled to take off in the US fully expects its passengers to behave like animals.

On Pet Airways, of Delray Beach, Florida, all pets travel in the main cabin and owners are not allowed on board - not even in the cargo hold.

The airline claims to be the first designed specifically for the safe and comfortable transportation of pets.

Company founders Dan Wiesel and Alysa Binder say they got the idea while planning holidays with their pet dog.

'Handled as baggage'

"Currently, most pets travelling by air are transported in the cargo hold and are handled as baggage," said Mr Wiesel.

"The experience is frightening to the pets, and can cause severe emotional and physical harm, even death. This is not what most pet owners want to subject their pets to, but they have had no other choice, until now."

Inside a Pet Airways plane
Seats are removed to make way for pet carriers

The airline has scheduled its first flight for cats and dogs for 14 July and will serve five US cities - New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles.

Pets - or pawsengers, as the airline calls them - can be booked in online and are checked in to a Pet Lounge at the airport.

Pet attendants give the animals a "potty break" shortly before take-off and then monitor the animals during the flight.

Owners - or Pet Parents - can follow their travel progress using an online "pet tracker".

On its website, the airline promises never to leave a pet alone adding: "A pet attendant will always be within a cat's meow."

The flights will be made in 19-seat turbo-prop planes operated by Suburban Air Freight, which have their seats removed to make space for the pet carriers.

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