Not that this has fazed the world’s richest people, though.
Since 2019, there’s been a large shift in the private aviation industry, with a remarkable surge in bookings from people old and new to the private jet world.
Besides those taking to the skies in private planes, more travellers have also started taking their pets with them on board.
There’s been an incredible 86% increase in the number of animals flown over the last two years, according to global aviation company VistaJet.
And it’s not just cats and dogs, but many other furry friends who are getting the opportunity to travel in absolute comfort and luxury.
According to Matteo Atti, executive vice president of marketing and innovation for the company, one in four of its members now flies with a four-legged companion, while the amount of birds being taken on board are also on the rise.
“Rabbits are a recent new breed of pet flown by VistaJet, and while dogs continue to make up the majority of animal passengers, the number of cats spiked 357% from 2019 to 2020,” says Atti.
US private jet company NetJets is showing off the trend with the hashtag #NetPets on Instagram:
A post shared by NetJets (@netjets)
The reasons so many people are choosing to fly their animals via private jet lately comes down to a few simple things.
First of all, the adoption of pets has skyrocketed during the pandemic.
The trend also points to overall lifestyle shifts that many have experienced because of COVID-19.
Daniel Hirschhorn, the co-founder of boutique private jet charter company Luxury Aircraft Solutions, explains:
“We’re seeing an increase in the level of leisure trips versus business trips,” he tells CNN Travel. “You’re not going to take your dog into your meeting, but you’ll certainly take it to your other house, if that’s convenient for you.
“We’re also seeing people that have much more flexible work schedules, so they’re able to travel with their pets more often, or use that vacation home they might have only gone to for a weekend, and stay for a week or two weeks or a month.”
…”I don’t think it [the upsurge] is because more people have pets. I think they’re just finding more time to be with their pets.”
Moose, an Australian Labradoodle, has been getting the private jet treatment from Texan owner Katelynn Stege:
Image: Katelynn Stege
Stege has chosen to spend an average of $30 000 per flight with NetJets rather than deal with the stress and discomfort of a commercial flight:
“Flying privately allows your pet to be right next to you and people they are familiar with and comfortable with, whereas on a commercial flight you can’t always sit next to people you know,” Stege tells CNN Travel via email.
“They [the animals] have freedom to stretch their legs and roam around a little instead of being crated on a commercial flight.”
At present, only small animals can fly on some commercial flights in the US, but they have to be in a small bag placed under the front seat.
Larger pets have to go in a crate placed in cargo, which can be traumatic for both animal and owner.
A number of US commercial airlines have banned emotional support animals from flights in the past year.
All of this makes it much more attractive for people with pets to fly their darlings in comfort and style, provided they have the money, of course:
“It’s not like [many people are saying] ‘I’m not able to take my pet on a regular flight that’s $500, so let me spend $15 000,” [Hirschhorn] adds.
“It certainly comes into play, but it’s just such a huge jump in price that I don’t think that that’s a real key deciding factor for a lot of people.”
Those who can afford it haven’t held back, with one set of owners flying their cats on a private jet to Mykonos for the summer because they missed them too much.
Hirschhorn recognises that the pandemic has normalised the type of behaviour where more people are happy to get their pets flown to them and don’t necessarily think about the money that it involves:
“Once you really break it down, and you take away the dollars and cents, then it’s basically asking ‘is my family member going to be okay?’”
Must be nice.
I’ll just spend the rest of my day wishing I was Moose.
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