First airline just for dogs takes flight with sold-out trip from NY to Los Angeles

Many pet owners know the struggle of flying with dogs — navigating an airline’s pet policies can be a hassle, and accomodations can be expensive or uncomfortable for dogs.

But what if there was an airline that specifically catered to dogs? Well now, there is: one “truly dog-first” airline just made its debut flight, and the idea is quickly taking off with pet owners.

The pet product company BARK — known for their BarkBox subscription service — announced last month that they would be launching BARK Air, described in a press release as “the world’s first air travel experience designed specifically for dogs first, and their human companions second, enabling them to travel together comfortably and conveniently.”

BARK says they launched the initiative as an alternative to other commercial airlines only allowing dogs to travel in cargo, which can be stressful, or kept in a bag or carrier under the seat.

In a video shared on Facebook, BARK CEO and co-founder Matt Meeker traveled in a crate to experience what dogs go through on flights. Experiencing claustrophobia, he said “there has to be a better way.”

Teaming up with a jet charter company, BARK Air offers a “luxurious, curated experience” where dogs are the VIPs, with every step of the process catered to their needs. There are no size or breed restrictions.

According to the press release, dogs and their companions arrive 45 minutes to an hour before the flight, bypassing the usual TSA checkpoints and screenings, while also being treated to meals prepared by onsite chefs.

Staff will help the dogs settle in to their flight and provide individualized attention. They will also be provided with treats and calming devices like noise-canceling earmuffs.

On May 26, BARK launched its inaugural flight, flying across the country between New York City and Los Angeles.

Unsurprisingly, the service doesn’t come cheap: the flight reportedly costs $6,000 for one dog and one human; upcoming flights from New York to London cost $8,000, according to CBS News.

But the CEO defended the eye-raising prices, saying he believes those luxury price tag will go down the more the idea takes off.

“This is cost-prohibitive for most families, but less expensive than most options today. And this is also how most innovative products and services began,” Meeker said. “Televisions, telephones, VCRs and DVD players, to automobiles, train and boat travel, and, yes, even human air travel — all of these started with very high prices until demand was proven and the costs could be brought lower by serving the masses.”

Despite the high prices, most of the planned BARK Air flights are already close to selling out, including the May 30 flight from New York to London. A flight from New York to Paris in October only has a few seats left, according to People.

So there is clearly a demand for better pet-friendly travel options — hopefully this idea takes off and more airlines start catering to these furry fliers.

What do you think of this idea? Would you love to fly on a dogs-first airline? Please share this story with your thoughts! ❤️