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Alaska Introduces New Perks for Pets

SmarterTravel

Alaska Airlines is one of our picks in 10 Best Airlines You’ve Never Flown. Now, the carrier is getting even better with the introduction of several new pet-friendly passenger perks.

Today Alaska announced a partnership with Banfield Pet Hospital, a veterinary practice that has more than 800 hospitals across the U.S. Passengers traveling with pets on Alaska—either bringing them in the cabin or shipping them via the airline’s PetStreak Animal Express service—will receive a free office visit, a travel consultation, and a $10 discount on a health certificate from Banfield Pet Hospital. (All pets crossing state borders must have a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian, as required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.)

This new program was announced in conjunction with a change to Alaska’s pet policy: Starting May 1, all animal kennels traveling on Alaska must have nut-and-bolt locks if the carriers are composed of two pieces. This means that your animal’s kennel must secure with nut-and-bolt hardware instead of “twist, slide, snap, or zip-tie fasteners.” According to a press release issued by the airline, these standards have been enacted to “further enhance pet well-being.”

An Alaska spokesperson told us, “Nut-and-bolt locks are more secure and cannot be undone in transport, or by a pet chewing on it, which could lead to a pet escaping its kennel.” It’s possible the policy change had something to do with Jack the Cat, the feline who got lost in an airport when his carrier fell and broke open. The incident sparked an outpouring of Internet outrage against American Airlines, which had been responsible for transporting Jack. 

Other airlines, including Delta and American, also require that pet owners use kennels with nut-and-bolt locks. If your regular travel companion is furry with four legs, now is a good time to upgrade to a nut-and-bolt carrier.

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(Photo: Shutterstock/Sergey Lavrentev)

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