Flights of the new airline Bark take off, where you can pay $6,000 to travel with your dog

Champagne. Leg room. Boarding priority. These are all useful elements to enjoy a first class flying experience. But on Bark Air, calming pheromones, music, and calming jackets are just a few of the amenities for VIP guests on the flight—aka, all-important puppies.

Bark, popular for its monthly subscription boxes of dog treats and toys, on Thursday offered its first cross-country flight from New York City to Los Angeles on its newly launched charter airline. The company differentiates itself from commercial airlines where small dogs or service animals join their human companions, making the flight experience dog-first.

“We built our service to be 100% dog-centric,” says Dave Stangle, Bark’s vice president of marketing. Fortune. Bark Air’s concierge service “truly goes above and beyond pampering each dog, getting to know them from the moment they book their ticket.”

Photo courtesy of cortex

To start, Bark Air will have flights from New York City to Los Angeles and London with one-way flights costing approximately $6,000 to $8,000, but prices will vary depending on routes and time of year. Humans pay nothing for their ticket. However, Bark Air hopes to be able to offer lower prices as demand increases and more flight routes are added.

“The reality is that we have to start with this model because the upfront costs are really high,” Stangle says. “And for us, (price) wasn’t a good enough reason not to do it. “We knew there was demand in this price range.”

In fact, Bark Air’s prices are competitive with other charter airlines offering similar services. K9 Jets, based in the United Kingdom, offers a variety of flights in Europe and the United States, which can cost up to $14,000 based on current offers.

“We’re very excited to continue getting tons of bookings, because that means we’ll be able to invest a lot more into this in the future and that will help us reduce costs to capture more audiences.” ”says Stangle.

The flight experience for dogs

Ahead of Bark Air’s official maiden voyage on Thursday, the airline offered several test flights to ensure the booking, boarding and onboard experience was seamless for dogs and their human companions. The airline’s slogan is “Dogs fly first,” a motto that rings true from the moment of booking until the pup reaches its final destination.

After booking, Bark Air contacts the owner to gather information about each dog, including size, temperament, and preferences. They do this to have a good mix of dogs on the plane and not overcrowd them. While there are typically 10 to 15 seats available on each flight, Bark Air will not fill the flight if, for example, several large or extra-large dogs reserve a seat in advance.

Photo courtesy of cortex

“If we set up a flight and the first five people to book have 80-pound Labradors (or) really big dogs, then we might close it sooner,” Stangle says. “Having a concierge available and being able to meet each passenger as they book gives us great control over the onboard experience. “That way we can make sure all the dogs are happy and comfortable.”

Then, on the day of travel, dogs and their companions only need to arrive at the airport 45 minutes to an hour before takeoff. This gives VIP passengers the opportunity to meet their pup friends before their flight. Bark Air passengers also enjoy meals prepared by on-site chefs and don’t have to worry about checkouts, TSA checkpoints or other screening.

“It’s fun to turn these airport lounges into mini dog parks,” Stangle says.

Other preparation for flight includes calming pheromones, music and colors that “puppies prefer,” according to Bark Air. And during the flight, Bark Air also offers calming treats, noise-canceling earmuffs and calming jackets, as well as your “beverage of choice.” Additionally, Bark Air arranges a seating plan so that dogs who like to play with each other can do so throughout the flight, and more reserved dogs can simply sit with their owner and be left alone, Stangle says.

Future service expansions

At launch, Bark Air wanted to offer flights where it would be harder, or essentially impossible, to get to without driving a car. That’s why they started with cross-country flights and flights between the US and the UK, Stangle says.

“We are planning to expand to many more routes much faster than we initially thought,” Stangle says. So far, Bark Air has received requests for routes to and from Texas, Colorado and Florida, as well as other countries, including Brazil and Paris. Currently, the airline typically flies to and from the United Kingdom approximately twice a month and flies weekly between New York and Los Angeles.

“We’re excited to leverage the knowledge we’ve learned over the years to create a truly dog-first experience that’s drastically different from simply accepting dogs, from earth to sky,” Matt Meeker, Co-Founder and Director Bark executive said in a statement.

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