MESA, AZ - Rania Ayyoub just finished up school in Phoenix and is ready to head home to New York. While she is looking forward to the trip, she ran into a problem. She had no way of getting her dog across country, as major airlines aren't able to help her over the holidays.
"They don't let dogs go in cargo this time of year because it gets below freezing," Ayyoub said.
She went online and found one airline that would be able to help her out.
Pet Airways is just what the name suggests, an airline for your pet. The company flys to nine major cities nationwide, with one of the stops being at Mesa's Falcon Field.
Alysa Binder is the founder of Pet Airways. She came up with the idea after having to fight the hassles of traveling with her own dog. Her goal is to provide customers with an option to have their pet fly in proper conditions.
"They're with a pet attendant on the flight the whole time and monitoring them and taking care of them the whole flight," Binder said.
Flight costs vary, depending on how many stops there are and where your pet is flying. Just like Rania, Rachel O'Canas is also moving, but to Denver, and has three cats. She paid about $600 for the three one-way tickets. Rania's ticket for her one dog to New York cost nearly $700. Both women agreed, though, this is one of the best ways to get your pet across the country.
"When I was a child, we used to transport our dog back and forth in the cargo hold," O'Canas said. "It was always a hassle. It was always questionable."
Pet Airways plans on making significant expansions in the coming years in an attempt to reach communities near other big cities.
On board the plane, pets get to enjoy a climate-controlled cabin, lighting and check-ups by an attendant every 15 minutes. Ayyoub, who leaves for New York in a matter of days, says it is a lot less of a hassle, but can be more emotional.
"I'm sad to see him go but I'll meet up with him in a few days and we'll be good," she said.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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