When fido flies
One great perk of flying privately is the ability to easily bring along a pet or service animal. You don’t have to hand it over in a crate for carriage in a cargo hold, nor do you have to endure annoyed looks from fellow passengers if your pet howls during the flight.
Even on a private jet, though, flying with an animal presents challenges. Here are a few products that can make the experience safer and more enjoyable for both you and your pet.
Ear muffs. Like humans, animals can be bothered by loud engine noise. Mutt Muffs, from Maryland-based Safe and Sound Pets, fit comfortably around canine and feline heads to reduce aircraft engine noise. “Dogs and cats hear higher frequencies than we do,” says company owner and pilot Michelle McGuire, who has sold more than 72,000 Mutt Muffs since 2006. “Fortunately, those frequencies [of jet engines] are more easily blocked, so even though the Mutt Muffs are not noise-cancelling headsets, they provide relief for the animal.”
Travel pads. Travel pads allow animals to relieve themselves without soiling the aircraft. Opt for pads that are specifically designed for the rigors of travel, such as DryFur Pet Travel Pads from Oregon-based KC Pet Travel Products. Initially designed for use as pet-carrier liners, these absorbent pads leave both the pet and upholstery dry.
Restraints. Most aircraft charter companies require that at least during takeoff and landing, smaller animals be restrained in crates or cages and larger animals be on a leash or in a harness. The Champion Canine Seat Belt system by Colorado-based Champion K9 Outfitters includes a harness and restraint strap designed to handle up to 2,000 pounds during low-speed (auto) crashes and quick stops. The Clickit Sport safety harness from California-based Sleepypod—which earned a five-star crash-test rating from the Center for Pet Safety in 2014—uses a padded vest to protect the animal and attaches to existing seatbelts without additional hardware. While neither of these systems was designed specifically for aircraft use, both provide greater restraint than “normal” harness systems, keeping larger breeds secure during maneuvers such as using thrust reversers on landing, and quick stops during taxi.