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For parents stressed by dogs in cargo, a private jet is an option

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Family trip: Brenton Tucker with Innes, his border collie (Photograph supplied)

All Brenton Tucker and his husband Alex Allardyce wanted was an easy solution for travelling with Innes, their 45lb border collie.

Commercial flights out of Bermuda made family trips impossible without putting their beloved family member in the cargo hold, and Brenton’s 50th birthday celebrations in Scotland were looming.

Stressed, they started searching and eventually discovered Private Jet Club, an aviation community that offered the opportunity they were looking for: on-demand flights, with membership discounts on empty legs, shared and chartered flights. Best of all, working dog breeds such as Innes could travel in-cabin.

Thrilled, the couple began telling friends, and friends of friends. To their amazement, nobody seemed to know, which is what landed them at the door of The Royal Gazette eager to get the word out that there is an option for people who want to travel with their fur baby sitting beside them.

“These pets are an immense part of your family. You’re with them from the beginning of their life to the end. They are a huge part of our lives,” said Brenton.

“We don't have any children but we have a fantastic dog and for us it's a pleasure [to travel with him] because at the end of the day, we know he's going to be here for ten to 12 years and that's it. So we want to make his life happy.”

Family member: Brenton Tucker and Alex Allardyce are grateful that Private Jet Club allows them the opportunity to travel without putting Innes, their 45lb border collie, in cargo (Photograph supplied)

The underwriter acknowledged that his job allows Innes a privilege that many pets do not have. Brenton’s hope is that commercial airlines will spot the trend and follow suit.

“In this current economic situation where the cost of living is what it is, this is not for everyone. There are people who are going to sit back and say, ‘Oh my god, are you kidding me? There are people who can't feed themselves, there’s unemployment, a lack of housing, air pollution….’

“And we say, ‘Hey, we hear you.’ But this is the market world. The more people that do get encouraged or want to participate, the better. And who knows, maybe at some point the [commercial] airlines will become more accommodating.”

Space and privacy: Private Jet Club customers travel on a luxury 14 seat all-aisle, all-window aircraft (File photograph)

Not only is it easier than having to fly elsewhere to connect with a pet-friendly airline, PJC eliminates the stress a delayed or cancelled flight can bring.

“It's less onerous on everyone to be able to go from Bermuda straight to London and back, versus having to go from Bermuda through New York, where shared private jet flights with pets are available but you have to first deal with US immigration policy,” Brenton said.

“The papers are all time-sensitive, so should there be some complication and you get stuck, then your [import] permit could expire.”

As dogs played a big part in both their upbringing the interest in having one of their own was always there.

“Innes is 19 months. We got him at eight weeks from a farm in Wales after my parents’ dogs of 17 years had to be put down,” Brenton said.

“We had him in London for two weeks and brought him into Bermuda on BA and he had a very uncomfortable experience.

“The flight was delayed two or three hours and then, when he finally was offloaded, [we were stuck] in the terminal waiting for somebody to come in and unload the dogs and get the paperwork.

“All the dogs were there yelping their heads off, they could see all the owners − but there was no personnel to be seen.”

Brenton believes it helped that Innes was exposed to sound and noise in London before having to get on a plane.

“Puppies coming directly from a breeder to a vet to [travelling on a plane in cargo], with that experience you can understand why there's so many reactive dogs on the island.

“So that was our experience and we said we would never ever do that again.”

A member of the family: Brenton Tucker and Alex Allardyce are grateful that Private Jet Club allows them the opportunity to travel without putting Innes, their 45lb border collie, in cargo (Photograph supplied)

The couple typically spent four to six weeks every summer in Scotland, where Alex is from, but once Innes joined the family the trip was cut down to a week.

“As they considered Brenton’s 50th this year they realised something had to change.

“We thought wouldn't it be something if we were able to figure out a way to get Innes with us back to London. So this whole project began a year ago. I basically started researching pet travel.”

Accomodating pets: Becky Ezekiel, vice-president of Private Jet Club (File photograph)

Social connections linked the underwriter with Becky Ezekiel, vice-president of Private Jet Club.

The couple assured her that there were other residents who were also eager to take their pets off-island for long breaks, especially during the summer months.

“A lot of dogs are left on the island in daycare and what have you for six, eight weeks. We talked with a lot of people and they said if there was a way that they could get their dog to travel with them, they would jump at it,” Brenton said.

“On a commercial jet, it's going in the hold. It's going in a big case; you’re not seeing them. The conditions are not ideal. You have to deal with delays.

“And once you land, the airport personnel will take hold of that dog and if you get somebody who is a jobsworth and tries to be difficult … complications and stress can all arise.

“Whereas, with a private jet the paperwork is almost all done before you get on the jet. It's been confirmed, validated and signed off.

“The operator doesn't want to have the risk or the responsibility of having somebody on the jet that doesn't have their papers.”

Altogether there is “less stress for the animal, less stress for the owner”, he added.

For more information on Private Jet Club, visitwww.pjcbermuda.com/

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Published May 20, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated May 21, 2024 at 8:10 am)

For parents stressed by dogs in cargo, a private jet is an option

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