If you were counting on flying Colonel Ouija McGillicuddy back from doggy-college on Pet Airways, you may be out of luck. Yes, the truly genius idea of an airline for pets somehow ran into financial difficulties:
The carrier — which based on its recent schedule typically offers two eastbound routes a month and two westbound ones — did not have any flights between Dec. 16 and Jan. 16, according to a regulatory filing, and it is unclear if it has had any flights since then. A New York Times reporter looking into the airline had reservations canceled twice, once in January and another last week.
The airline is also hemorrhaging cash:
At the end of the year, the company had roughly $30,000 in cash on hand, and its “net monthly cash burn” is $25,000 to $55,000 a month. In the filing the company said it did “not currently have sufficient cash on hand to meet our financing needs.”
All of these troubles amount to dissatisfied customers and stranded pets, and a return to a dangerous option forced on passengers by the airlines. Since most airlines do not allow animals in the cabin, pets ride in the cargo hold and are subjected to extreme fluctuations in temperature; apparently, 122 dogs died in transit between 2005 and 2010. But only one of them was killed by Wesley Snipes for attempting to seize the plane, so at least there’s that.
While the owners are justifiably upset, the pets have their own grievances. Pet Airways accommodated our furry friends in style, and without their service, those pets who can afford to fly might be forced to return to the cargo holds. But even that service cannot overcome the slights that many have faced. I asked one former Pet Airways customer if she would consider flying with them again, and she issued this vehement response: