Wondering how many people are flying with their pets these days? Let these statistics recently released by Virgin Atlantic give you an idea. Since 2003, this British airline has seen a 1500% increase in the number of dogs flying out of the UK and a 325% increase in the number of cats doing the same.
This is just one airline, but clearly these numbers are worth noting and this growth trend can most likely be reflected by the industry as a whole. More and more people are traveling with their pets, and air carriers are taking notice. We look forward to watching the industry develop even further, and will report the inevitable exciting changes to you as they emerge.
For example, a smaller airline that you may or may not have reason to do business with, Air Malta, has just announced that it will be implementing a new pet policy beginning Jan. 1, 2012.
Air Malta has been allowing guide dogs to ride in the airplane cabin for the last two years, but beginning in January, small pets (cats and dogs) will also be allowed to travel with their owners in the cabin. These new policies are based on customer and employee suggestions, and include the following:
-Small pets will be allowed in the cabin during all Air Malta flights, with the exception of those flying to and from the UK.
-Pets should be in a carrier no larger than 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. The carrier should meet all air travel requirements (it should have a leak-proof bottom, allow proper ventilation, etc.).
-The pet and the carrier cannot exceed a combined weight of 10 kg.
-Only three pets, including guide dogs, can fly on one airplane.
-Pets must remain in their carrier throughout the flight, and the carrier must remain stowed beneath the seat throughout the flight.
-Pets must be at least eight weeks old to fly.
-Pets must still meet all import requirements for the destination country and must have a valid health certificate and should have seen a vet within three days before the flight.
These rules seem pretty standard but can make all the difference to pet travelers, so hopefully more airlines out there will soon be following suit. At any rate, we’ll keep you updated!