New airline offering dogs first class service, to fly out of Bay Area

Starting in the fall, a new service is launching in the Bay Area that promises dog owners a way to travel together conveniently and comfortably with their fur baby, making the four-legged air passenger the priority customer.  

In October, BARK Air plans to expand its services to San Jose Mineta Airport, offering what it called the "world’s first air travel experience designed specifically for dogs first, and their human companions second."

BARK Air first launched last month, providing flights to limited locations: New York to Los Angeles and New York to London.

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In the coming months, the company plans to expand to more locations. In addition to San Jose Mineta, BARK Air will operate out of the metro areas of Phoenix, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Paris, and Chicago, the company said.

"Traveling long distances with a dog is a challenge many dog parents face, particularly for those dogs that don’t fit into a carrier that can be placed under the seat in front," BARK said in a press release. "Too often, dogs are denied travel, confined to a duffle bag, or endure the stress of flying in cargo."

The company said it aimed to eliminate the stress and offer a more humane option, emphasizing ways to make its canine passengers calm and comfortable and giving their "two-legged companion" a curated and personalized, hassle-free experience. 

Here is how it works: 

  • Dog owners book flights on BARK Air.
  • After their trip is purchased, owners are contacted by a BARK Air concierge to collect information about each dog and their human’s travel plans to tailor the trip to each customer.
  • No crates or lines: On travel day, passengers arrive at the airport 60 minutes prior to departure time "for a simple, efficient check-in process where dogs can meet other furry friends on their flight."
  • Concierge service: Before boarding, a BARK Air concierge will welcome dogs at the gate to help them settle into their experience through socialization and "dog-centric cabin preparation." The concierge also evaluates each dog to ensure the pup is doing well, adapting to the new environment, and make sure its needs are met.
  • Flight prep: Prior to boarding, the plane is treated to a "Dogs Fly First" flight prep with calming pheromones, music, and colors that pups prefer. All furry passengers have access to various aids such as calming treats, noise-canceling ear muffs, and calming jackets to ensure a stress-free and enjoyable flight.
  • Pampered pup: Onboard, dogs are served a snack or beverage of choice during ascent and descent to ensure they do not experience any cabin pressure triggered ear discomfort. Treats and other in-flight amenities are offered throughout the flight to make the trip enjoyable for both the "furry passengers and their humans."

Not surprisingly, the premium pup treatment will cost a premium price. The air service said pricing will vary based on routes, time of year, and whether the ticket is for a round trip or one-way.

A quick check of flights, for one way from San Jose to Chicago in the fall will cost $6,000. 

A one-way ticket to New York will cost $6,500. 

San Jose flights to and from Chicago begin on Oct. 17. For New York, it's scheduled to launch on Nov. 22.

BARK Air said the ticket price covered its four-legged passenger, as its "human companion flies free!"

The company acknowledged the fare reflected the high-end service it was offering and said, "Our goal over time is to bring down the ticket cost and make this Dogs Fly First experience available to every dog and their people who have a desire to travel together."

BARK Air said it has partnered with an Argus Platinum-rated charter company which handles all aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance related matters. 

Before moving into the air travel industry, New York-based BARK began as a company that sells toys, treats, and other specialty dog products.  

"We are continuing to expand our offerings to ensure we make dogs as happy as they make us, because we know that dogs and humans are better when they are together," the company said. "We’re excited to introduce a new standard of travel, in which dogs are treated like family, not luggage."

BARK Air to begin offering service out of San Jose Mineta Aiport. (BARK Air)

(BARK Air)

(BARK Air)

(BARK Air)