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November 19, 2008
How much is that doggie ticket?
If you fly with a small dog, be prepared to pay a lot.
I wanted to take Mini, my 10-pound toy poodle, with me during a Thanksgiving trip. My round-trip ticket cost: roughly $300.
Here were the round-trip costs for Mini to ride under the seat in front of me:
- American Airlines: $200
- USAirways: $200
- JetBlue: $200
- Continental Airlines: $250
- Delta: $300
- United Airlines: $350
- Southwest Airlines: does not allow pets (except service animals) $150
On most of the airlines, it would cost nearly the same to stow Mini as a carry-on bag under the seat in front of me as my own seat. On one airline, Mini's ticket would cost more than my own.
Just a few years ago, airlines were touting "fly with your pet" programs. This year, most airlines have raised all of their fees across the board, including pet fees.
Can someone explain the economics of extremely high pet fees? Are the airlines trying to disincentivize carry-on pets, or do they see it as easy money because of well-heeled dog owners?
As for my travel plans, I'm staying put.
UPDATE: JetBlue just announced a new pet program, JetPaws. A few extra perks but it still cost $200 roundtrip to bring your pet.
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I'm glad there are high fees for this. I do not want airplanes packed with people bringing their pets because it is cheap. I'm a dog owner, but this is a slippery slope to start butting into other people's personal "space".
It would be cheaper to buy a new dog on arrival. Or perhaps rent one for the duration of your stay. I've always wondered why pet leasing never took off.
I just flew with my parrots and Delta only charged us $150? As long as it fit under the seat...
hey pet owners, ever stop to think that you are in a sealed space with many other people, not all of whom love or even tolerate your furry/feathered friends? Some of us have allergies. Some of us just prefer to enjoy animals from a distance. Well, no one asks us if we mind being cooped up with your pets. And it's not like we can move to another spot until the flight has concluded. So, please, find a sitter, a kennel or the cargo hold.
I spoke to an travel industry guy.
He says that pets on flights proved massively unpopular with many fliers. But, having opened the door, the airlines could not close it without offending pet lovers.
Instead, the airlines decided to creep up the price, hoping the problem would go away by itself when the pooches head back to the hold...
Whaaaaaaat?!?!?!?! That's outrageous! If dogs are small enough to fit in a carry-on (our chihuahua is 3 pounds), why the surcharge? Doesn't the dog bag count as a carry-on?
I have traveled with my dog Chachi before on flights and he is quiet and more well-behaved than some children. I haven't minded paying the extra fee in the past -- it usually worked out to be about the same as boarding Chachi for the duration of my trip. With prices this high, I may as well buy two tickets, and he can sit in the seat next to me. ;)
It's not personal. Or even about pets. It's a way of staying afloat by making money on what you don't do, because you can't make money on what you DO do. Banks do this, too. And look where it got them. And all of us.
Interesting article and I did not know the prices were so high. But I imagine that the airlines consider this a luxury item and so they'll charge accordingly. I know there have been comments on here form people who don't want pets to travel. All I can say is that when I think of all the flights I've taken where I have had to endure screaming, crying kids wanting to get up then down, up, down, preventing me from sleeping, listening to music, etc., and parents with the attitude of, "oh well, they're just kids," I'd rather travel with a plane full of dogs any day!
As usual, Southwest has the most sensible policy.