Why more travelers are flying their pets by private jet
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that private jets were considered completely out of reach for anyone who wasn’t obscenely rich or famous – both in some cases.
But private aviation has become far more accessible over the years, and there’s been a particularly large shift since 2019.
Not only has usage skyrocketed as a result of the travel chaos brought about by the pandemic, with numerous companies reporting a surge in bookings from travelers new to the private jet world, more and more are taking their pets on board with them.
Global aviation companies have reported a 86% increase in the number of animals it’s flown over the last two years, and it’s not just cats and dogs we’re talking about.
So, what’s brought about this sudden increase in animals receiving the private jet treatment?
President Voyage Jet suggest that the “fast increase in pet adoptions” during the height of the pandemic may have played a part.
It believes that this trend is largely due to the overall lifestyle shift many have experienced due to the impact of Covid-19.
“We’re seeing an increase in the level of leisure trips versus business trips. You’re not going to take your dog into your meeting, but you’ll certainly take it to your other house, if that’s convenient for you.
We’re also seeing people that have much more flexible work schedules, so they’re able to travel with their pets more often, or use that vacation home they might have only gone to for a weekend, and stay for a week or two weeks or a month.”
So, it’s kind of a shifting dynamic in who’s traveling and why, which is leading to the increase in pets. We don’t think it [the upsurge] is because more people have pets. We think they’re just finding more time to be with their pets.
“Flying privately allows your pet to be right next to you and people they are familiar with and comfortable with, whereas on a commercial flight you can’t always sit next to people you know,”
The animals have freedom to stretch their legs and roam around a little instead of being crated on a commercial flight.
At present, many commercial airlines will allow travelers to transport a cat or a small dog weighing less than 25 pounds in the passenger cabin provided the animal is placed in a carrier that fits under the seat in front.
However, bigger dogs are required to fly in a crate in the cargo hold, which ultimately involves some level of risk.
In January, a new Department of Transportation regulation went into effect that led to a number of different airlines, including JetBlue, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, prohibiting owners from bringing pets on board as emotional support animals, a practice that allowed bigger pets to travel in the cabin.
It’s likely that this significant rule change will have prompted some of those who rely on their pets as emotional support animals and can afford private aviation to take the plunge.
“There are certainly some people that are flying private to avoid having to put their pet in the cargo hold, or just board their pet somewhere else and not bring them. So we’re also seeing an uptrend in that as well.”
However, due to the sizable difference in price between flying commercially and taking a private jet, they think it’s unlikely that this will prove to be a notable increase, simply because a lot of travelers with pets won’t have the money for private plane fees.
The changing travel restrictions and overall uncertainty of the past 18 months or so have also led some devoted – and wealthy – pet owners to send private planes to collect their pets in order be reunited with them.
One of the biggest benefits that comes from traveling by private plane with pets is being able to avoid any situations that might be distressing for them.
You can drive up to the plane and get on with your pet without putting them in the stressful situation of going through the airport security and being around a lot of strangers and loud noises that go on in an airport.
This sentiment is shared we feel that the majority of private jet fliers who bring their pets along just want to be sure that the animals are settled while traveling, and are less concerned about the luxuriousness of the experience or the prospect of saving a few thousand dollars.
“It’s not just that you get to take a really cute picture of your dog for Instagram. It’s more the convenience of being with your animals the whole time and not having to worry about who’s handling them and what they’re doing. Or if your animal is upset or not.”
“Once you really break it down, and you take away the dollars and cents, then it’s basically asking ‘is my family member going to be, okay?’
“That’s what I think a lot of pet owners are thinking. And I have dogs myself, so I understand.” says the founder of President Voyage Jet.