A Better Way to Fly
Neil Werde, managing director of canine development for Worldwise, Inc., explains how the company’s Guaranteed On Board program ensures fewer hassles for traveling pet owners.
Pet Business: What was the inspiration for creating the Guaranteed On Board (GOB) program?
Neil Werde: Flying with a pet is stressful. Every airline has a specific set of rules and regulations, and pet parents are often not properly prepared. Under-seat dimensions are constantly changing. As pet parents that travel with our animals, we know first-hand how frustrating it can be. The Worldwise Guaranteed On Board program is designed to ensure that pets and pet parents travel comfortably and with peace of mind.
PB: How was the GOB program developed? How has Worldwise worked with airlines to ensure compliance to their standards?
Werde: The program requires extensive behind-the-scenes work and a constantly updated database that gives us a view into each plane with its varied seat configurations, as well as each specific airline’s guidelines. This way, we can see specifically on what flight the passenger has been booked, and review the details about the pet, the carrier being used and the airline specifics. If all requirements are met to bring the pet on the flight, we issue a Guaranteed On Board certificate that provides all of the needed information for the airline and guarantees that if the pet is denied boarding due to the carrier, Worldwise will refund the cost of the pet travel fee and the pet parent’s plane ticket.
PB: What are some of the key elements of airline standards that are addressed in Worldwise’s carriers?
Werde: Safety is the No. 1 concern for the airlines, the pet parent and Worldwise. It is important that the carrier has adequate airflow (at least three sides should have mesh), and is properly sized for the pet (the pet must be able to turn-around and lay down inside the carrier). The carrier must also have a waterproof bottom barrier to ensure that no liquids can leak, and definitely no attachment or obstruction inside the bag that can cause any potential hazard.
PB: Exactly how does the program work for pet owners?
Werde: The Guaranteed On Board program is provided with the purchase of a qualifying SHERPA carrier at no additional cost. To benefit from this travel partnership program, the traveling pet parent logs onto flygob.com and selects a participating airline. The pet parent simply fills out the flight and pet information and selects the appropriate qualifying carrier that will fit the flight and pet specifics. If the pet, flight and carrier selected meet the airline’s requirements, the pet parent will receive a GOB certificate to print-out and present to the gate agent. It’s as simple as that.
Should the passenger be denied boarding due to the SHERPA carrier, the flight and pet fee will be reimbursed—guaranteed.
PB: What is the retailer’s role? Is there anything else about the program they should understand?
Werde: The retailer should fully understand the program and be able to direct the pet parent to the flygob.com website. Our customer service representatives are available during normal business hours to answer any questions or concerns a pet parent may have. We understand flying with your pet can be a stressful experience, and we are here to help make it easier and more enjoyable.