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'Friendly Skies' Not So Friendly for Pets

By Cecilia de Cardenas    March 23, 2009 at 05:55PM / (0) comments

People seem to be flying for less money than ever these days. And even though you may be charged extra for a snack, a beverage, or checking luggage on your flight (talks to even charge for using the restroom facilities have been made), at least it's possible to make a quick getaway on the cheap. Unfortunately, the same may not hold true if you decide to bring your pet.

Airlines seem to be steadily hiking up the cost to fly your furry friends. In recent years, some airlines have more than doubled their original fees for pet passengers. There are even cases where a pet owner can fly for less than it costs to bring their pet onboard.

Dog and cat owners argue that the sky-high costs to fly Fido or Fluffy make no sense, especially for those who are perfectly capable of stowing their pets away under their seat. Many pet carriers are smaller than the average carry-on bags passengers bring onboard. Furthermore, humans often get the “luxury” of an in-flight beverage or snack (or at least the use of the restroom), while pets are not offered any of these services for their hefty airfare. And if you have a larger dog that you plan to check in the cargo area, expect to shell out even more money.

Jet-setting pet owners feel like they are being taken advantage of. True, raising the price of a plane ticket for quadripeds may make fares drop for everyone else, but it may also result in pet owners steering clear of the skies altogether and finding other means of transportation.

Spirit, JetBlue, USAir and American Airlines currently have the lowest fares for traveling pets, while Delta and United charge the most. However, be sure to verify with your airline of choice for their pet fees before purchasing a ticket.


Image: Colleen Lane / via Flickr

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