The Future of Feline Air Travel

A new airline offers options for owners who wish to fly with their cats.

By Nadia Ali

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What does the future hold for cat lovers who wish to fly with their feline friends?

A new air service catering to the needs of pet lovers is about to take off from secondary, executive and municipal airports from its base in Florida.

Companion Air, the first pet airline, will allow you physical contact with your cat during the flight through its dedicated cabin space that is split into two sections -- one for humans and the other for pets. Each flight includes a specially-trained flight/animal attendant, pet toys and pet-specific food.

The pet airline first operated from August 2003 to December 2003. The plane was a small, single-engine version that seated four companions. Because it could only operate in good weather, the plane was later used for emergency cases only.

The company then purchased a larger, mid-size business aircraft that comfortably holds from six companions to 12 pets depending on their size. Companion Air plans to expand its space as operations get underway.

As a sample of the fares, a one-way flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to New York is $549 for a pet. While the cost is considerably higher than economy or budget fares on regular airlines, the quality, comfort and service provided by the onboard veterinarian is priceless when compared to the inside of a typical airline cargo hold.

A veterinary check-up is required 10 days before take off as a precautionary measure to ensure your cat is fit to fly.

Because of delays and financial constraints, Companion Air is currently on hiatus and hopes to resume flights later in 2005. So, hold onto your cat, as a pet lovers dream is about to come true under the wing of Companion Air where the companys motto is: Where pets and their families fly first class.

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