Here’s another business spawned by animal lovers.
It’s a tale of flying Fido to Florida.
A few years ago, Alysa Binder and husband Dan Wiesel got on an airplane with their dog Zoe – a Jack Russell Terrier. Alysa and Dan did fine. Zoe… Not so much.
As pet people know, most pets fly cargo along with baggage. And these “Pawsengers” aren’t always happy upon arrival. Zoe’s experience was the inspiration for Pet Airways – the first animal-only airline.
No cargo ride for these pets – it’s first class all the way. You get a walk, a snack and a potty break before they walk you aboard a Beech 1900 Turbo Prop plane. Then you nestle into your private and secured carrier– located where people seats used to be. A pet attendant is on board to take care of all your needs while in transit.
So do the critters get the little bag of free peanuts? Treats, maybe. Ticket prices start at $149 and your furry pal waits for you in a pet lounge area at the destination airport.
Well right off the bat people loved the idea. And Pet Airways launched 2009 serving 5 major cities and within a year grew to 9. The owners marveled at their good fortune.
“Whenever we tell people about Pet Airways, the response is so overwhelmingly positive,” reported Dan and Alysa. “We’re still amazed we were the first to make it happen.”
This Florida-based enterprise eventually hopes to serve 25 cities in the US and Canada.
But it may be a while before that happens. In 2012 the New York Times reported the underperforming economy was taking its toll on Pet Airways, The company, faced with money woes, had canceled a number of flights and routes.
“We are a very new company that is pioneering, just as FedEx pioneered the overnight packaging business,” explained Alyssa to the Times, “We have ups and downs, but we are keeping our eyes on the long-term goal of providing a safe and comfortable transportation option for the pets.”
Let’s hope so.
Entrepreneurs like Binder and Wiesel – creative-types who think “outside the box” — are the kind of risk-takers America needs to encourage. They fuel the engines of innovation.
Alysa Binder and Dan Wiesel exemplify an axiom featured on our website: Think niche within a niche.
They created a pet airline! Now why Didn’t I Think of That?