The newly launched airline Akasa Air, is soon going to allow pets to onboard in the cabin compartment beginning November 1, the airline said in a statement. The bookings to fly pets, that will mainly include domesticated cats and dogs, will start from October 15. The airline has partnered with Umeed for Animal Foundation, a non-governmental rehabilitation centre for animals regarding this.
With this, Akasa Air becomes the second airline to have pet-friendly policies after Air India. “Akasa’s pet-friendly service will commence from 1 st November 2022, wherein passengers flying on Akasa Air will be able to travel with their pets in the cabin. Taking an additional step to ease the travel experience of pet parents and their wards, we have joined hands with Umeed for Animals Foundation to ensure smooth pet-friendly travel," says Belson Coutinho, cofounder and chief marketing and experience officer, Akasa Air.
Akasa Air is backed by ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, who passed away on August 15. Jhunjhunwala, who made an investment worth $200 million, had a 46% stake in the company, followed by CEO Vinay Dube who holds a 31% stake in the company and former IndiGo director Aditya Ghosh who holds a 10% stake in the airline.
The airline first began operations on August 7, and has so far covered 11 routes across eight cities namely Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Kochi, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Guwahati, and Agartala. Akasa Air, which competes with other low cost airlines like IndiGo, SpiceJet and Go Air, plans to take its fleet to 72 aircraft in the next four years, with 18 aircraft being inducted by the end of March 2023.
“Our first two months have been very exciting and satisfying as we moved from planning to commercial operations. We have been hyper focussed on establishing and delivering an empathetic, dependable, and reliable flying experience unlike anything witnessed in the Indian skies thus far," says Dube.
Air India's pet policy
Tata Group-owned Air India allows dogs, cats and birds, after receiving valid health and rabies vaccination certificates. “The pet must be properly carried in soft ventilated bags/kennel in the prescribed size (kennel size not to exceed 18” x 18” x 12”). The weight of the pet including the container should not exceed 5 kgs. for carriage in the cabin. Pets of larger size / weight will be carried in the cargo hold. Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks of age to travel. Pregnant pets will not be accepted,” Air India’s pet policy says.
“Maximum of two pets are permitted in cabin per flight, one in the last row of First/Business class and one in the last row of Economy class along with the accompanying passenger. The pet dog must be properly muzzled and leashed. The Pets/Guide Dogs will not be allowed to occupy a passenger seat,” it adds.
Pet policy of SpiceJet
SpiceJet, under SpiceXpress allowed all kinds of animals to travel as cargo in its Boeing B-737-800 and B-737-900ER aircraft. However, since June last year, the airline has stopped this service temporarily.
Pet policy of IndiGo
The airline doesn’t permit any animal to fly in either cabin or as cargo. However, it allows service dogs travelling with disadvantaged passengers. For this, the passengers are required to take prior approval from the airline.
Pet policy of Air Asia, Go Air, and Vistara
While pets are not allowed in Air Asia flights, the airline has an exception to allow pets in its AirAsia India (i5 flights) and AirAsia Japan (DJ flights) aircraft. For this, the passengers are required to take prior permission from the airline. Meanwhile Go Air and Vistara do not allow pets to fly.