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For US$8,000, BARK Air offers a first class experience for dogs

The dog-first experience starts with a waiting lounge filled with treats and a speedy check-in. (Pexels) The dog-first experience starts with a waiting lounge filled with treats and a speedy check-in. (Pexels)
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EAST FARMINGDALE, New York -

With this airline, dogs are ditching the kennels and flying first class.

BARK Air wants to pamper pets and their owners even before takeoff and will make its initial flight from New York to Los Angeles on Thursday.

CEO Matt Meeker said the business idea came from struggling to transport Hugo, his Great Dane.

"I was unable to travel with him long distances and had the idea that there should be an airline that caters to dogs," said Meeker, who also founded BarkBox, a subscription service for dog products owned by Bark Inc.

"We cater everything to the dog, trying to lower their anxiety and their stress, so they have the most comfortable, fear-free experience on an airplane."

The dog-first experience starts with a waiting lounge filled with treats and a speedy check-in.

BARK Air also offers an onboard spa for the pups and a menu featuring "doggie champagne" and "barkaccinos."

The company aims to sell 10 tickets per flight to make room for 10 dogs, though the luxury aircraft can accommodate up to 15 people.

Tickets for one person and one dog cost US$8,000 for a one-way international flight or US$6,000 for domestic trips.

Meeker says prices could decrease in the future.

"We're operating at a loss today as we start. The idea is over time, we have a pretty clear pathway to lower the price for the consumer and lower our costs. And that comes with scale and more routes."

Currently, BARK Air flies between New York City, Los Angeles and London.

The company is considering adding flights to Paris, Milan, Chicago, Seattle, and seasonal destinations in Florida and Arizona after receiving 15,000 requests for new destinations.

"I hope that we can create an experience that reaches every family that wants to travel with their entire family like they do with their children."

(Reporting by Aleksandra Michalska; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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