The PetLounge takes gold
The PetLounge, an initiative of BidAir Cargo, has received the Gold Medal at the 28th annual Logistics Achiever Awards. What does it do? It moves more than 40 000 pets domestically every year, on kulula.com and British Airways flights, to and from secure, air-conditioned PetLounges at local airports.
“The Logistics Achiever Awards-panel gave our concept points for originality,” says Roy Solomons, BidAir Cargo Chief Commercial Officer. “We broke away from airline practice, which often requires owners to hand their pets across the cargo counter. Our model is based on separate customised facilities at all airports – not just the international gateway – which are staffed by specialist, certified pet-handlers.”
These facilities are away from the noise, bustle and fumes of ground operations to keep the pets stress-free in surroundings where they are cared for by specially-trained animal handlers. This has opened a new pet-travel segment by making it easy for families to take pets with them on holiday.
In planning and designing the PetLounge, BidAir Cargo drew on worldwide best practice to ensure the service met global standards. Locally, the company sought input from the State Vet, SPCA, animal travel agencies, breeder associations, rescue charities, veterinary experts, individual pet owners and the airports company.
From the PetLounge, staff accompany the pets to their flight shortly before take-off and secure them in pressurised forward compartments where the first officer can keep an eye on temperature and status. On arrival they are first off to minimise time away from their owners.
“This is a no-compromise service where the animal’s safety and comfort is paramount.
“Accordingly, we are strict about the travel containers we accept,” says Solomons. “This is to ensure that the pet has enough room to stand and turn around and cannot escape during transit.”