Mid-May marks the start of the
season when major commercial airlines restrict pets from traveling as
cargo, but dog owners who fly on private jets are able to travel with them
in the main cabin—the ultimate treat for pampered canine companions. According to Bombardier Skyjet, the premier service for private business
jet travel and a unit of Bombardier Aerospace, the ability to travel with
pets is a major advantage for customers who don’t want to leave Fido or
Fifi behind during family vacations.
“Many of our leisure travelers request that their pets accompany them
onboard their flights,” said Alexandre Monnier, Managing Director,
Bombardier Skyjet, which in 1997 pioneered real-time online booking of
private jets and is a leading jet card provider. “People who have
discovered this additional benefit of private jet travel try to take
advantage of it when they can—and it’s a trend that is growing,” he
noted, adding that an increasing number of luxury resorts and hotels have
Mr. Monnier said that most airlines prohibit pets traveling as cargo from
mid-May through mid-September, due to temperatures that can affect the
animal’s safety. Skyjet has for the past several years received phone
calls from pet owners in May asking about private jet travel. “Questions
about pet travel are something we’ve come to expect this time of year and
our concierge team is well prepared to answer them,” he noted.
According to Mr. Monnier, restrictions differ from airline to airline. In
addition to the seasonal restrictions, some airlines also do not allow
carry- on pets on certain aircraft or in first-class cabins, and still
others do not accommodate pets at all, except for service animals.
However, while it is possible for pets to travel in the main cabin of a
private business jet, Mr. Monnier cautions that it’s not as simple as just
walking up to the tarmac with your golden retriever.
Pets are categorized by the FAA as cargo, and as such they must be
appropriately secured, generally in an animal carrier or kennel, during
takeoff and landing for the safety of the passengers and crew. In
addition, Mr. Monnier said there are some differences between what a
private jet owner is allowed to do versus what an on-demand charter
customer or a jet card member, such as the Skyjet Card, Learjet Card and
Challenger Jet Card offered by Skyjet, can do.
Whereas a private jet owner can decide his/her own policies within the
parameters of FAA requirements, a jet card-member or on-demand charter
customer is traveling on an aircraft owned by someone else, and therefore
must adhere to more stringent requirements.
Mr. Monnier points out that in fact not all private aircraft owners allow
pets so it’s important that customers ask about any restrictions or
requirements when they are booking their trip. On the other hand, there
are private jets in the fleet approved for the Skyjet network that are
especially outfitted to carry large hunting dogs. But it’s important to
book early to reserve a particular aircraft.
Additional private jet travel tips from the experts at Skyjet include the
* When flying privately, at the time you arrange your travel mention that
you plan to take your pet onboard the aircraft. This will assure that your
pet’s needs are anticipated, and that the aircraft can accommodate your
pet. * For long flights, you can even schedule a stop along the way to
walk your animal. But it is highly inadvisable to attempt to travel with a
pet that is not housebroken. * Check with your veterinarian before
sedating an animal before a flight. Some vets recommend against sedating
pets as altitudes can affect how they respond to sedatives. It may depend
on the type, breed and health history of the animal. * Remember there are
special restrictions and procedures for international travel. Pampered
In addition, Skyjet is pleased to announce a special pet lovers jet card
program. According to Angela Ferragamo, director of marketing for
Bombardier Skyjet, members who purchase the Skyjet Card, Learjet Card or
Challenger Jet Card, offering blocks of 25, 50 or 100 flight hours on
private jets, can enroll their four-legged friends as a Pampered Skyjet
Sky-pet. Pets will receive an enrollment package that includes a
personalized sterling silver collar charm, along with the ultimate pet
gift basket—a magnificent collection of gourmet treats and high-end pet
products—and even their own jet card.
According to Ms. Ferragamo, the Skyjet Sky-pet program is more than just a
fun promotion; it’s designed to capture information about card-members’
pets so that Skyjet can accommodate them individually and luxuriously.
“When we arrange flights for members who sometimes travel with their pets,
we want to anticipate their needs and exceed their expectations,” said Ms.
Ferragamo. “We want to provide a superior travel experience for each and
every member of the family.”