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TravelBark Air promises a first-class ride for your pet — for a...

Bark Air promises a first-class ride for your pet — for a hefty fee

Many airlines allow dogs onboard, with a lot of restrictions, while other airlines take large dogs as cargo.

Soon, though, dogs of all sizes will be able to fly between New York and Los Angeles or between New York and London in high style. Bark Air’s scheduled charter flights are just for pooches and their people.


What is Bark Air?

Bark — the canine-centric company known for its treat-filled BarkBox subscriptions — is offering this experience to flyers who do not want to (or cannot) squeeze their dogs into under-the-seat carriers on commercial flights. These flights are also aimed at travelers who refuse to ship their pups as cargo in airplane holds.

“We think dogs should be right next to you on the seat, getting the same or — in our case — even better treatment and experiences than people do,” Dave Stangle, Bark’s vice president of brand marketing, said.

Other groups have tried this model and failed.

However, for its new dog-focused scheduled air service, Bark is partnering with private jet charter company Talon Air. It promises a “white glove experience typical of a human’s first-class experience,” complete with car service to and from the airport and concierge guidance throughout the experience.


What dogs (and companions) can expect on Bark Air

Before a flight, Bark Air’s concierge will gather information about the dog and its travel preferences.

On the day of the flight, dogs and their flying companions only need to show up an hour before the flight with their travel documents — including government-issued IDs for humans and vaccination records for dogs. Because this is a private jet service, Bark Air passengers get to skip the TSA lines and screening.


During the flight, dogs will not need to stay in any sort of crate or carrier. Instead, they can lounge on the floor, sit on laps or seats or mingle in the play area with other dogs. Like seat belts, leashes are required when the plane is taxiing, taking off or landing as well as during any turbulence.

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To make the flights as dog-friendly as can be, Bark Air will stock the jet cabins with calming aids for pups, including “pheromones, music, warm lavender scented refreshment towels” and other comforts.

During takeoff and landing, dogs will be offered a “beverage of their choice,” such as water or bone broth, to help with ear discomfort due to changes in cabin pressure. There will even be “just in case” bags on board with calming treats, poop bags and more.

The crew will serve treats to dogs, and there will be snacks and a full bar for people.

“We also have earphones made for dogs that are designed to drown out the noise going on around them,” Stangle said.

As for the aircraft, Bark Air flights will be on long-range Gulfstream jets.

On these jets, “the cabin is considered stand-up, which means it is at least 6 feet high,” Doug Gollan, president of Private Jet Card Comparisons, said. He explained that in addition to a front and rear lavatory, these jets typically offer a mix of club seating, which includes seats facing each other, couches, and, often, a table with two bench seats.


These Gulfstreams can seat up to 15 people, but Stangle says no more than nine or 10 dogs and their human companions will be booked on any flight. That policy is meant to allow for the ideal seating arrangement and ensure enough space for each dog.

There is even a possibility that you and your dog could be the only passengers on a flight. “Our policy is that if one ticket is sold, we fly,” according to Bark.

To start, Bark Air will fly from Westchester County Airport (HPN) in White Plains, New York, to Los Angeles’ Van Nuys Airport (VNY) on Thursdays. Return flights will operate on Fridays.

Flights to and from White Plains to London Stansted Airport (STN) are on the schedule for every other week.

Ready to book? Hold onto your chew toy

Ticket prices are hefty: They cost $6,000 one-way between New York and LA and $8,000 one-way between New York and London. However, each ticket includes passage for one dog and one person age 18 or older.

Stangle acknowledges that those fares are “prohibitively expensive” for most dog people. However, he said that if you were to fly from New York to the U.K. with your dog right now, that’s close to what a business-class ticket might cost.


“Even though it’s expensive out of the gate, that’s not a good enough reason not to do it,” Stangle said. “We’ve mapped this out and believe that over time, as we invest more in the business, we can bring that cost down.”

Bark Air’s first flight from New York to LA is set to take off on May 23. Last we checked there were still seats available.


Alternatives to Bark Air

If Bark Air prices and routes don’t fit your travel needs, there are other options for traveling with your pet.

Most commercial airlines allow passengers to bring a pet on board in a carrier for fees that range from $95 to $150 each way for domestic flights. A few carriers allow passengers to purchase an extra seat for pets that do not fit in carriers; however, they require the pet to stay on the floor.

Here are links to the current pet policies of a variety of U.S. airlines (including JSX, a semi-private airline that is pet-friendly):


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