Pet owners like to treat their four-legged friends as one of their own, even when it comes to long distance travel. They wouldn't banish their children to the bottom of the plane to fly as cargo alongside the baggage so why would they do it to their dogs or cats? Well, would you believe that there's a luxury pet airline in the US catering to this demand, specifically designed to fly animals, and animals only.

"Pet Airways" charges pet owners a (colossal) fee to fly their pets as "passengers" in a temperature controlled cabin that can hold up to 80 animal carriers. There are even air stewards or "pet attendants" on duty to make sure the animals are all comfortable and content (bar the alcohol trolley). The airline also advises against feeding the animals during the flight because animals can suffer from motion sickness too (and I'm sure they're not going to rush to the bathroom or reach for the paper bag before they barf like we humans do).

If the flights are cross-country, the dogs are unloaded and taken for walks when the plane touches down at its various locations around the States (the airline only operates in 10 locations at present) and taken for toilet stops before and after flights. Protective owners can even track their pets' status and progress online at the Pet Airway's website (http://petairways.com/). Depending on the size of the pet and the duration of its journey, a one-way ticket can cost up to $1,500 (equivalent or more expensive than the cost of your own flight).

It's not surprising that some people feel strongly about flying their pets in style after hearing the statistics. Apparently there are continued reports of animals being lost, injured, or killed during flights. From July 2005 through August 2011, 195 animals were reported dead after a flight, with Continental Airlines leading the count with 49 deaths; in that period, 77 more animals were injured and 40 lost. Those numbers don’t include Jack the cat, a highly-publicized feline found October 26 after being lost by American Airlines in New York's JFK airport for almost two months. How does an airline manage to lose a pet? The same way they lose our luggage I suppose....