There's a new luxury airline for dogs

BARK Air launches private flights for dogs and their humans

Erika Mailman
Written by
Erika Mailman
USA contributor
Dog on an airplane
Photograph: Shutterstock/New Africa

Bark Air announces that it is launching new luxury flights for dogs and their humans, and we’re wondering if this includes a Frequent Fido program. The same company that brings you the monthly subscription service BarkBox is taking to the skies to make sure your canine friend gets to the same destinations you do—both domestic and international—just with flair and treats, according to Dollar Flight Club.

These flights will start next month between White Plains, New York (the Westchester County Airport, 30 miles north of New York City), Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles, and Stansted Airport in London. The private jet charter company Talon Air will take care of those with paws and dewclaws for takeoff and landing, while Bark will deliver safety measures during the flight itself.

That includes a concierge team devoted to the comfort of both dogs and humans. There is a socialization time with dogs in the lounge before boarding, so everyone gets along once in the air. Right now, the flights are limited, but Bark will expand based on customer feedback after these flights, honing the experience to keep the tails wagging.

An adorable video on the company’s website shows a flight attendant delivering food to a dog in a silver dome—when she removes the lid, it’s a sneaker. The “critically acclaimed in-flight entertainment” includes a close-up of a squirrel eating a nut, which two dogs are riveted by in their plane seats, headphones slipped to around their necks (that’s okay: they hear great!). The lie-flat beds have “four times the legroom,” and tantalizingly, there is talk of the first in-air dog park coming soon. Dogs get “wings” to put on their collar and water from a fancy bottle poured into a cut glass bowl while they lap at it. They (or humans) can press an overhead button for belly rubs. We see a dog getting a hairdryer blowout after an assumed grooming session and a glimpse of the plane's exterior branded as Bark Air, with the K of bark looking like it’s barking with voice lines emanating from it. “Dogs will fly the way they were always meant to,” says the earnest voiceover. How can I get on this flight with my Jack Russell terrier?

Of course, there are a few details to cover, such as ensuring immunizations are current. The crew will reach out to you after booking to ask about socialization issues, how big the dog is, and allergies, among other things. All dog sizes are welcome: “Stop breed shaming!” says the airline. Dogs are not separated by size, and this may not be the right flight for anxious ones.

You will be booking a flight for your dog, not yourself, but each dog ticket comes with a free human ticket. No kids under the age of 18 are allowed on the flight (the website explains that's because they drop table scraps and pull tails). Dogs can socialize or spend alone time with their human. No carriers, crates, or leashes are needed once the flight is in the air, so long as the dog is under good voice control. The airline doesn’t like crates and made its CEO fly in one just to make that point.

As befits a luxury travel company, there is a private waiting area for pre-boarding and you don’t have to go through security. Humans are served a meal at the airport so there’s no temptation on the flight itself (the London flight does include a human breakfast). Relief areas are at the airport, and if an accident happens on board, trained professionals will take care of it. Dogs get plenty of toys, treats, and bedding but are encouraged to bring their favorites as well. It will be an intimate experience with never more than ten dogs, and once you land, there is free dog-friendly car service within a 30-mile radius. Calming pheromones will be floated through the cabin, along with music. Warm lavender-scented towels will be distributed, and water or bone broth will be served upon ascent and descent to help dogs conquer that unpleasant air pressure sensation in their ears.

Now we have to get to the hard part, tough as a bully stick. These flights are pricey. Between Los Angeles and New York, the one-way flight is $6,000 (but remember, that is one price for the dog with the human coming along free! A second human adds on another $6,000). Going between London and New York is $8,000; there’s no Los Angeles-London connection. Right now, you can book domestically through September and internationally through August, with the schedule for later months opening up soon.

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