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Is Bark Air’s flight service for dogs really necessary?

Bark Air is the first airline offering luxury flights for our furry friends. But they’ll cost you. 

In today’s world, convenience tends to reign supreme. If you can afford it, anyway.

Bark Air, a new airline for – you guessed it – dogs, is taking our obsession with convenience to new heights.

The brand launches this May, and will offer international flights for our furry friends. Routes will cover New York to London and beyond, but starting at $6000 for a one-way ticket, they’ll definitely set you back a few quid.

Proponents argue that Bark Air fills a crucial niche in the travel industry, with pet owners facing extreme difficulty when relocating or travelling with their dogs. But the company has also – somewhat unsurprisingly – faced backlash since hitting the press.


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Ostensibly unnecessary air travel has been a hot topic in the past few years. And as concerns surrounding global warming continue to mount, those who partake in luxurious journeys are facing scrutiny over the costs and emissions involved.

Just look at Taylor Swift, who’s been repeatedly slandered in the media for using a private jet.

It would seem dogs are no different. Online comments have questioned the need for Bark Air given the state of the planet and the economy.

‘What happened to saving the environment?’ wrote one Instagram user, beneath a post about Bark Air’s launch next month.

Others were quick to call out the hefty price tag. ‘I don’t even wanna pay 200 for a flight. Why would I pay 6k for my dog?!’


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Like it or not, though, there is certainly a market for a dog-focused airline. According to Dogster, 78% of American pet owners travel with their pets each year. And in 2019, a total of 404,556 animals were transported by airlines.

Given the hassle involved hasn’t stopped us taking to the skies with our animals, Bark Air’s high prices are unlikely to deter those who can afford them. And even, perhaps, those who can’t.

‘I have been saying for years that this is exactly what someone needed to do. This company is going to absolutely crush’ said Taylor Perkins on Instagram.

The reality is that many people want the absolute best for their animals. And if that comes at the expense of the environment – and their bank account – then so be it.


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Bark Air’s offerings are unique in that they cater to the outlandish needs of high maintenance pet owners rather than laughing them off. And that will bring them big business.

With the new airline, travellers can book Bark Air’s ultra-luxe, 10-guest private planes, on which pets can sup ‘dog Champagne’ and relax in ‘calming pheromone’ scented blankets.

The set-up is much like that you might find on the private jets of the rich and famous. But despite the big price tag, Bark Air is slightly more accessible.

A private jet charter from New York to London would set you back anywhere from $50,000, while Bark Air’s tickets start at just $6000 for a one way trip between New York and Los Angeles, and $8,000 from New York to London.


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What won’t change, though, is the damage to the planet. It’s no secret that private air travel is detrimental to the environment, with a single journey creating 14 times the pollution per passenger than a commercial plane (and 50 times more than a train).

Just because our dogs are now on board, shouldn’t mean this statistic is brushed under the carpet.

Bark Air’s response to criticism has so far only focused on the economic costs involved.

‘While these are premium prices for a premium experience, our goal is to invest more in this program over time to enable us to bring prices down and be more accessible to more dog people’ said Dave Stangle, Bark’s VP of brand marketing.

Concern for cutting down emissions has not been addressed. But it’s somewhat naive of the brand to think they can enter the aviation industry without inheriting its ethical quandaries.

The success or failure of Bark Air is somewhat of a litmus test for our collective willingness to confront the uncomfortable truths about privilege, sustainability, and the true cost of convenience.