Pet travel – hotels vs airlines

Airlines and hotels have a dichotomous relationship with the former’s fate, for better or worse, having a disproportionate impact on the latter. Yet there is almost nothing in common in terms of financial planning and efficiency, innovation, operational excellence or even state subsidies (almost never for hotels).

Hotels constantly strive to gage customer trends and in the area of enabling pet-friendly stays many have embarked on significant measures designed to satisfy guests traveling with their quadripeds. The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) had an article earlier this week entitled “Where Dogs are Welcome” noting that “the U.S. tourism industry has responded with unique and luxurious options for our four-legged friends”. That is true, though, only of the hotel industry where some upmarket hotels even have a separate room service menu for pets.

Airlines, however, seem to think less is more and just as they have begun to charge for just about every “amenity”, they are decidedly unfriendly to pets as Farecompare CEO, Rick Seaney notes in a column carried by ABC News’ Business traveler page. Not only do airlines do nothing to enhance Fido’s travel experience but they actually seem to be doing their best to destroy one’s pet! Some like Southwest, simply won’t allow pets calling themselves “pet free” while others such as United Airlines won’t allow “short-nosed dogs like pugs or boxers or Boston Terriers”. On NorthWest airlines “the biggest dog will cost you $359 one way for a total of $718 round-trip”. It is no surprise that sites such as “” do not feature any airlines.

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

One thought on “Pet travel – hotels vs airlines”

  1. Hello Vijay: I wanted to direct your attention to a new website; PAW;Pet-friendly Accommodations Worldwide. PAW is on the web at and is the ONLY hotel booking engine on the web that exclusively focuses on luxury, (4-star or higher rated)pet-friendly hotel properties. It seems that hoteliers have created wonderful programs to include the family pet in a travelers travel experience, but have neglected to create the distribution channels necessary to get the information out to affluent, pet-owning travelers. PAW hopes to fill this gap. In addition, there is an airline advertiser on this site…MarquisJet allows your pet to walk directly onto the plane with you, no crating or even leashing necessary.

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