CREATURE COMFORTS

Taking (most of ) the hassle out of holidaying with your furry friend.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

You’ve heard the stories: Rabbits dying after commercial flights, puppies suffocating in the overhead compartment. It’s the reason you endure being separated from your pet when you travel – because homecoming is that much sweeter when Fido is safe, alive, and there to greet you.

In spite of this, global business aviation company Vista Jet has seen a 104 per cent increase in the number of animals flown during the last two years. One in four of their members flies regularly with their pets, presumably too precious to be left at home. Inspired, it launched Vista Pet, a travel programme that provides pets with a smoother, stress-free travel experience on board a private jet.

While Vista Pet doesn’t go as far as offering inflight massages and real grass for your pets to do their business on, it does hand out “pochettes” containing goodies such as doggy treats created by Michelin-star chef Michel Roux, rope toys, and water-free shampoos and wipes. Cabin crew can offer natural flower essences to mix with your pets’ drinking water to keep them calm. Pets have to stay on the leash or inside their crate during take-off and landing, but they can chill on handmade sleep mats at cruising altitude.

And once you land, you can saunter off the plane with your four-legged best friend, knowing that Vista Pet’s programme takes care of the cabin reclean.

Unfortunately, that’s where the added ease of travelling with your pet ends. Vista Pet doesn’t exempt you from the necessary paperwork, the clearance procedures, and, in some cases, the dreaded quarantine – whether at your destination or back in your home country. (In Singapore, pets arriving at Seletar will have to be checked and potentially quarantined at Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station. Not fun.)

Flying by private jet affords your pet the best possible treatment but, in quarantine, all animals are equal. For those who struggle with leaving their pets behind – there’s always the option of well, not leaving.

TEXT ANGELINE TSE
 
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