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27 Apr

Evolution of Pet Travel

Pet travel is an immensely popular service in the 21st century. The integration of pets into the family unit means the thought of leaving them alone or in the care of a stranger is not a welcome one. The advent of international & domestic pet flight services has prevented such situations and kept families together. However, this was not always the case; pet travel has evolved considerably ever since the very first pet parent took to the skies with their pet, and while it is a well-connected & refined service today, this was not always the case. 

The Inception of Pet Travel

During the so-called “Golden Era” (1950-1970) of commercial aviation, flying cost a pretty penny. Given that the cost of flying somewhere would require an entire year’s salary for the average person, only those with considerable wealth would travel by air. By extension, the only pets flying during this period were those belonging to wealthy individuals, as provisions for pet-friendly travel like pet-friendly hotels or taxis were unavailable, meaning you needed to make your own private arrangements for your pet. This trend continued into the late 1980s until one employee decided to change the status quo.  

While serving as a flight attendant on the now defunct Transcontinental & Western Air (TWA), Gayle Martz wanted her Shih Tzu to fly by her side. However, the regulations in place at the time made it difficult to do so. Martz, undeterred by the daunting set of rules governing air travel, decided to create her own solution. The solution came in the form of a bag, which would go on to become the go-to carrier for transporting your pet on a flight; named the Sherpa Bag after her pet dog Sherpa, it could transport her pet safely, and comply with the rules of pet transportation. 

Due to the nature of her job, she was well-acquainted with the rules of pet travel, which helped her design the first soft-sided pet carrier approved for flight. With the dimensions and materials sorted out, she set about making sure the carrier could fit under the seat of an airplane. All the designs in the world wouldn’t help if the airlines refused to allow a pet to travel in the bags though, so she went to nearly every airline to argue her case and let pets fly in Sherpa Bags. With a little convincing, multiple airlines accommodated her request and saw the value in allowing passengers to fly with their pets alongside them. 

The Current Landscape

Gayle’s Sherpa bag was a positive step in the right direction, and seeing the value of pet travel, the world also implemented rules to encourage it. In 2003, the European Union implemented a new set of rules which aimed to ease the movement of animals across borders. According to these guidelines, any country falling in the low-rabies category could export pets to an EU country without the need for quarantine. These rules greatly eased animal travel and made travelling to and from rabies-free countries far easier than ever before.

Skip a few years ahead to 2006, and there were more positive steps taken towards the same. The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) saw an increase in pet travel and began issuing guidelines for the safety of animals travelling in the cargo hold. In 2008, a more comprehensive set of rules were issued for the design and manufacturing of pet travel crates/containers, to make sure that pets could not break free or escape their crate while travelling and posing a risk to themselves & others. 

In the time since these steps were taken, the rules for pet travel have become efficient and streamlined. Airlines now publish their own pet travel guidelines and help pet owners stay up to date on bookings, travel requirements, and itinerary details. Pet travel itself is far safer than ever before, and more well connected too, thanks to more and more airlines and routes accepting pets on board. Destinations have also been helping the effort, and you can see various pet-friendly restaurants, hotels, and accommodations in nearly every country nowadays. 

The Future of Pet Travel

The future looks extremely bright for pet travel. While there were great strides made towards the safety and comfort of pets while travelling, the introduction of the internet truly made the world a smaller place. Various employment opportunities overseas see business-minded pet owners relocating with their pets to enjoy a change of pace. The senior and elderly populations are adopting pets and treating them like babies. Whatever the reason may be, for a job, a change of pace or scenery, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a pet owner willing to leave their baby behind, which has led to the pet travel industry boom. And all that is even before you consider the increased adoption rates for pets during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

With an increase in travel, there has also been an observable increase in accommodation. Earlier, pets were excluded from spaces like bars, restaurants, hotels, etc., for fears of unruliness. Today, with the role a pet plays, these limitations have since been removed. Rather than merely ‘permitting’ a pet to stay, you’ll now find accommodations and eateries offering tailor-made services for pets, as such places understand the value a pet carries and how significantly it can impact the experience of a guest. All in all, with all the strides and developments made in a short span, the future of pet travel looks very bright indeed.

If you have further queries or require someone to plan your trip with your pet, call (890) 890-9020 or mail us at enquiry@carrymypet.com. We provide domestic and international pet relocation services, where our team of experts ensure your pet gets the love, comfort, and care they deserve while travelling.

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AUTHOR’S BIO

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ARSH BHARDWAJ

I am passionate about language, storytelling and the human urge to connect Having paid close attention to marketing and branding as a craft for some time, I'm eager as ever to indulge my passion for prose.

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