A new boutique airline called BARK Air describes itself as “the world’s first air travel experience designed specifically for dogs first, and their human companions second.”

BARK Air completed its first flight from New York to Los Angeles Joe Gall:BARK
BARK Air completed its first flight from New York to Los Angeles; Photo: Joe Gall/BARK

The company officially took off on April 22nd with it’s inaugural flight which flew six dogs of various breeds and sizes (from Chihuahuas to a Golden Retriever) and eleven humans from New York to Los Angeles.

“BARK Air has taken the white glove experience typical of a human’s first-class experience and redirected all that pampering to pooches – from booking to arrival, to in-flight services and disembarkation, dogs will truly be the VIPs and treated to a positively luxurious, curated experience,” they stated in an announcement.

The airline is a subsidiary of BARK, the company that created dog-centered brands such as the subscription service BarkBox. Co-founder and CEO Matt Meeker said that this idea has been in the works for over a decade after he was inspired by his attempts to travel with his late Great Dane, Hugo, who always had trouble fitting aboard planes due to his size.

According to BARK Chief of Staff Katharine Enos, the pup-sengers were treated to special cupcakes, chicken-flavored puppiccinos, and a shoe on a platter. The drinks are served in dog bowls, leashes replace seatbelts, and dogs can relieve themselves wherever needed.

“Brooklyn (dachshund) and Eddy (golden) [were] friends and played and the little dogs took nice long naps most of the way,” she said to NPR via email. “After lunch it was nap time for everyone. No potty accidents on board or stolen food either! Everyone felt connected in the way we were obsessed with our dogs.”

BARK Air doesn't have dog breed or weight restrictions; Joe Gall:BARK
BARK Air doesn’t have dog breed or weight restrictions; Photo: Joe Gall/BARK

The company aims to make the experience as comfortable as possible for dogs, even doing a “pup intake” before the flight to learn about the dogs’ preferences and temperament. Dogs and humans are also served their meals and stowaway toys before takeoff to avoid potential territorial disputes in the air.

Once they take off, the pups are offered various perks, such as spa treatments or blankets covered with pheromones. According to Meeker, the flight crew is also trained in dog CPR and “fear-free behavioral practices.”

BARK Air flights between New York and LA cost $6,000 for one dog and one human (or one human and two dogs collectively under 50 pounds) in each direction, and one-way flights between New York and London go for $8,000.

According to Meeker, innovations related to transportation can often become less expensive over time if there is enough consumer demand. BARK Air is partnering with charter company Talon Air to offer several flights per month.

“We have pretty clear ways of bringing those prices down if the demand is there, and that’s what we aim to do,” he added. “We want to make this affordable and accessible for as many dogs as possible.”