Bone voyage

Fly the pet-friendly skies | Dan Weisel, Zoe and Alysa Binder founded the first airline for pets.

Pet Airways, which plans to add Dallas as a destination this summer, treats pawsengers better than some airlines treat people

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer

Zoe, a Jack Russell terrier, came up with the idea for Pet Airways — at least according to company founder Alysa Binder.

This summer, Pet Airways is coming to Dallas, Austin and Houston. Exact dates and which airports will be announced later, airline officials said.

Rather than try to get people airlines to treat pets better, Binder, Dan Weisel and Zoe decided to start their own airline just for dogs and cats — and a hermit crab, some gerbils, mice and maybe rabbits soon.

On Pet Airways, all of the pawsengers fly first class. Pets even walk down a red carpet. And unlike most people airlines, meals are included in the price of a ticket, although some picky pawsengers prefer to pack their own.

Binder said drinks are also included. No need for your pet to carry a credit card to purchase those amenities.

And, of course, Pet Airways has a generous frequent flier program — fly five times and get one flight free.

The airline already flies to nine cities including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. This summer they will add Austin, Houston and Dallas.

The fares run from $99 to $249 each way on Pet Airways. On traditional carriers, pets fly as cargo or, when available, under the seat.

The least expensive carry-on is offered by Southwest Airlines for $75. The carrier must be small enough to fit under a seat.

In cargo, Delta Airlines is the most expensive at $275.

But on Pet Airways, an animal would never be treated as cargo. Binder said that a cargo hold is dark and the flight is loud and not always fully pressurized. The pet is normally alone and often scared.

Compare that to Pet Airways where, in some ways, Binder said, pets get better treatment than people do on those people airlines.

While security measures are tight, pets are not scanned or x-rayed and no one touches their junk.

No need for any of that, said Binder. Each animal is visually examined before boarding.

“We won’t take a sedated pet,” she said.

She said that no animal should be sedated before flying because it can affect their breathing.

And a recent health certificate is required from a vet for each animal.

On-board pet attendants understand the different needs of dogs and cats of different ages.

Puppies and kittens are fed on a frequent schedule. Medications for older dogs and cats are appropriately administered as well.

Pet attendants check the comfort of their pawsengers every 15 minutes and the flights take longer than people flights, partially to give every animal a potty break — the longest breaks are in Omaha and Baltimore/Washington airports where there’s a several-hour layover.

Attendants are well-trained specialists. Binder said her employees include vets and even a former lion trainer (although Pet Airways doesn’t transport lions).

The cabin is well lit, pressurized and temperature controlled. Pets do not sit out on the tarmac facing extreme heat and cold, where most airline mishaps with pets take place.
Cages are arranged side-by-side along the cabin walls. Although no pet gets a window seat, each one faces the aisle.

Check in is required two hours before flight time. Pawsengers are picked up at the Pet Lounge about 30 minutes after arrival because a potty break is given between the plane and the lounge.

Sometimes people are flying the same day as their pets and the people airline bumps or delays a flight. If that happens, just call Pet Airways and they’ll arrange for the dog or cat to spend the night at a Pet Airways Affiliated Pet Resort.

Safety, care and comfort are the company’s mission, Binder said.

And what does the airline do with their unsold seats? Space is used to transport rescued animals to their new, permanent homes.

Now that’s something special in the air.

Reservations can be made on line at or call 888-PET-AIRWAYS.

—  John Wright

Travel Diary

The biggest news in travel is the latest from Dallas-based Southwest Airlines. The airlines announced plans this week to acquire AirTran Holdings, which includes low-cost flyer AirTran Airways. What this means for travelers is added destinations, many originating from DFW. Although the merger won’t have immediate effects, once in place, Southwest wil increase its presence in New York and Boston and add service to the Caribbean and Mexico.

As if Palm Springs already doesn’t have enough attraction, they go and add more fabulosity. The new gay resort Escape Palm Springs is open in the former Chestnutz spot. Renovations are complete and deals are now available for this clothing optional resort. Visit for more information.

Also, the 24th Annual Palm Springs Pride Festival and Parade is scheduled for Nov. 6–7. The festival will fill up the Palm Springs Baseball Stadium featuring a concert by Martha Davis and the Motels. Then it’s followed up by the jumbo-sized parade on Sunday. Visit for details.

If you haven’t noticed, Expedia has added a charming bit for their LGBT travelers. When you use the site to search for hotels, you can now filter in “LGBT-welcoming” as an option. They have tagged hotels in popular destinations throughout the U.S. and internationally such as Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris.

The travel site has also began an LGBT travel page listing events from around the globe. Visit for details.

New York-based G Worldwide has launched the first gay luxury hotel and hospitality brand across the nation.The hotels will cater specifically to LGBT community and supporters.
With plans to launch in five locations over the next two years, they will focus first in New York, Florida, California and Las Vegas before going international. Visit for information.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 1, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Dallas, Round-Up Saloon, American, Southwest among finalists for TripOut Gay Travel Awards

Voting for the second annual TripOut Gay Travel Awards is under way, and it looks like Dallas is well represented among the nominees, which reportedly are selected by “20 of the hardest-working, busiest travel journalists covering the LGBT planet.”

Big D is among six finalists worldwide for “Best Breakout Destination,” which is described as a place that’s either “off the beaten path” or “making unexpected strides.”

“It’s not just the home of oil barons and cowboys, Dallas is also one of the proudest gay cities around,” according to TripOut Gay Travel.

The other finalists in the Breakout Destination category are Mexico City, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Reykjavik and Cambodia.

Meanwhile, in the “Best Gay Bar” category, our own Round-Up Saloon is among six finalists worldwide:

“Instinct Magazine crowned it the ‘Best Galdanged Gay Bar in the U.S. of A.’ and it’s hard to argue with the fun and full-on cowboy action that the Round-Up serves up nightly. For 30 years, this place has been delivering Dallas with a really big ‘D’ — complete with two-stepping, a tequila bar, friendly staffers and more ten-gallon hats than you can possibly rest on your bedpost. Even Lady Gaga loves it! An American classic.”

The other finalists for Best Gay Bar are the Abbey in West Hollywood, Club Manana in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Roscoe’s in Chicago, Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London and the Week in Rio/Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Also, Fort Worth-based American Airlines and Dallas-based Southwest Airlines are two of the six finalists for, well, “Best Airline.”

Cast your vote in all the categories by going here.

—  John Wright

Public lewdness charge dropped against ex-WFAA anchor Brad Hawkins

A public lewdness charge against former WFAA anchor Brad Hawkins has been rejected by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, according to Hawkins’ attorney, Peter Schulte.

Hawkins, now a spokesman for Southwest Airlines, was arrested in April following an incident at Flag Pole Hill Park near White Rock Lake.

Schulte told Dallas Voice the DA’s office has elected not to prosecute Hawkins.

“He didn’t commit a crime,” Schulte said, calling it a “false arrest.”

“That conduct as alleged by the police department does not constitute a crime,” Schulte added.

—  John Wright

Southwest loves to f*** your bags

Southwest Airlines is based in Dallas, and that’s all the excuse I need to post this. Warning: NSFW.

копирайтинг массового поражениякак продвигать юридические услуги

—  John Wright

Pam Ann at the Majestic Theatre last night

Pam Ann was one surprise of a show. YouTube vids of her live show don’t do her much justice because while funny, they play a little blandly. In person, she’s an entirely different animal. And a funny one too.

The show was introduced with a video, above, of her safety demonstration which got the mostly gay male crowd whipped up into a laughing frenzy. Two dancers came out soon followed by Pam Ann and the audience exploded. It was a surprise mostly because her people had mentioned before  they weren’t sure how she would do here. Her manager later told me it was a nice feeling to see an audience be so reactive. But rowdy was more like it.

—  Rich Lopez