15:39 27 January 2017
Owners, dogs travel together on special Japan Airlines tour
CHIBA, Japan, Jan. 27, Kyodo
Owners and their pet dogs departed together in the passenger cabin of a Boeing 737 from Narita airport near Tokyo on Friday on a special three-day domestic tour, Japan Airlines Co. said.
While pets usually travel in cargo compartments, the "wan wan jet" service allows owners and their dogs to travel together on a charter flight to Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan.
As part of the package tour, the owners and their dogs will also get to stay together in a hotel and go sightseeing in rented cars. The price of the tour ranges from around 150,000 yen ($1,305) to 280,000 yen, depending on the number of participants, according to JAL.
"It was painful for me to check in (my dog) as luggage at airport counters as it always barks," said Toshihiko Kai, a 41-year-old company employee who was travelling with a 4-year-old miniature dachshund.
"Today it feels safe as it is beside me," he added.
"Air travel with pets will lead to the opening of new markets for domestic flights," a JAL official said.
When the company launched the service in December, it was fully booked in around an hour with about 60 people and 30 dogs, the company said.
In a similar service offered by ANA Holdings Inc., 87 people traveled to Hokkaido Prefecture with 44 pets last May.