Pets start flying on Akasa: Day 1 sees 4 dog passengers; petfares start from Rs 4,000

NEW DELHI: India’s youngest airline — aviation veteran Vinay Dube-headed Akasa Air — on Tuesday started carrying pets on board its flights like the country’s oldest-operating carrier — Air India. Four pet dogs flew its domestic flights (Akasa flies only within India as of now) on as many flights. The airline allows a maximum of one pet in the passenger cabin and one in the cargo hold. Currently, only domesticated cats and dogs are allowed as pets.
According to the airline, it will charge Rs 4,000 (including GST) for carrying pets weighing upto 7kg in the cabin who will be checked in with an accompanying passenger. The charge for pets between 7kg and 32kg in cargo compartment, checked in with an accompanying passenger, will be Rs 15,000 (GST inclusive). And charges for flying heavier pets weighing upto 100kg in cargo will ‘vary based on weight and destination’.
“A black Labrador named ‘Dr J’ travelled in cargo hold from Bengaluru to Guwahati. A Beagle named ‘Shibo’ flew in the hold from Mumbai to Bengaluru. An Indie breed named ‘Sky’ went in the hold from Delhi to Bengaluru. And a Shih Tzu ‘Oreo’ travelled in the cabin from Bengaluru to Cochin,” said an Akasa official.
“Bookings for pets will need to be made at least 48 hours before flight departure. Number of pets allowed to travel on a flight are limited and bookings will be accepted on a first come first basis, including seating consideration,” the airline official said.
Belson Coutinho, Akasa Air co-founder and chief marketing and experiences officer, said, “We are pleased to commence our Pets on Akasa service today. The response has been overwhelming since we opened for bookings – with a total of 22 pets already booked to travel on our flights up until mid-December. On the very first day of our Pets on Akasa service, we flew four of our furry friends to their respective destinations and are very heartened to hear the positive feedback from the pet parents. Pets on Akasa reflects our commitment to create an inclusive travel experience.”
Air India, which has been flying pets for decades, allows a maximum of two pets in cabin per flight — one in the last row of first/business class and one in the last row of economy along with the accompanying passenger. “Small inoffensive domestic pets such as dogs, cats and birds, accompanied by valid health and rabies vaccination certificates, will be accepted on AI domestic flights in the cabin or in cargo hold … subject to approval of flight commander … must be in soft ventilated bags/kennel (of) prescribed size. Weight of pet, including the container, should not exceed 5kg for carriage in the cabin. Pets of larger size/weight will be carried in the cargo hold. Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks of age to travel. Pregnant pets will not be accepted,” AI website said.

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