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New Airline Flies Pet Paw-sengers


Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts
--Visual Arts
Social Studies
--Current Events
Vocational Education


Grades 2-up

News Content

A new airline that caters to dogs and cats is helping to take the stress out of pet owners travel.

Anticipation Guide

Survey students to learn how many of them have pet dogs and cats. Pets can be a big responsibility. What if the family wants to go away for a couple days or longer? What about the pet? Allow time for students to share stories of what they have done with pets when they had to travel. For example, students might share how the pet traveled with them, how they arranged for others to care for the pet while they are away, how they had to pay to kennel their pet while they went on vacation, and so on.

News Words

Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: cargo, attendant, terrier, frequent, transport, and expand. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • Owners hope to _____ the size of the restaurant so it can hold 50 more people than it holds now. (expand)
  • City buses make _____ stops in front of the school. (frequent)
  • My aunts pet _____ barks every time someone rings the doorbell. (terrier)
  • The huge ship carried tons of _____ from port to port. (cargo)
  • Stew missed the bus, so his mother had to _____ him to school. (transport)
  • Once you are on the plane, a flight _____ will come around to serve drinks and snacks. (attendant)

Read the News

Click for a printable version of this weeks news story New Airline Flies Pet Paw-sengers.

More Facts to Share

You might share this video with students about the launch of a new kind of airline.

You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • Pet Airways planes, which fly out of small regional airports, currently serve the areas around Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, New York City, Chicago, Omaha, Denver, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. One-way tickets cost between $99-249.
  • Though Pet Airways may be more expensive than traditional air carriers, owner Alysa Binder emphasizes that you get what you pay for. The airlines paw-sengers" travel in the planes main cabin monitored by trained Pet Attendants. Everyone who works with us is a pet lover," says Binder. We all go out of our way to give the animals a tremendous amount of love and attention."
  • Currently, most pets traveling by air are transported in the cargo hold and are handled as baggage," says Dan Wiesel, Binders husband and president/CEO of Pet Airways. The experience is frightening to the pets, and can cause severe emotional and physical harm, even death. This is not what most pet owners want to subject their pets to, but they have had no other choice, until now."
  • Pets travel aboard 19-passenger turboprops that have been customized for pet travel. The seats have been removed from the cabin and replaced with secured pet carriers, complete with individual litter boxes and water. The cabin remains fully-lit and climate-controlled with the proper level of fresh air circulation.
  • Currently, about 60 percent of the airlines paw-sengers" are dogs and 40 percent are cats. Among the airlines frequent fliers are pets being shipped off to Grandma's house, puppies and kittens being sent by breeders to their new homes, and show pets on their way to competitions. Pet Airways also donates flights to pet rescue and adoption centers.
  • Each stop on the Pet Airways route is equipped with a Pet Lounge where owners can drop off their pets. Every pet gets a potty break less than 2 hours before its fight. Pets board the plane and Pet Attendants make sure theyre all comfortable and that they, and their pet carrier, are secure. The Pet Attendant monitors and checks the comfort of all pets every 15 minutes during the flight. After landing, pets are disembarked, given a potty break, and made available for pickup at the Pet Lounge. For an extra charge, the airline offers boarding/kennel services for as many as three days leading up to a flight.
  • According to the American Animal Hospital Association, approximately 76 million cats and dogs travel with their owners each year. Relatively few, between 1 and 2 million, currently travel by air. Many airlines allow small pets to travel with their owners, stowed under the seat, but pets that are too big to fit under the seat are relegated to cargo. Some airlines do not transport pets because the cargo area conditions -- where temperatures can quickly reach 100 degrees in the heat of summer -- are not conducive to doing that. Other airlines only accept pets when outdoor temperatures range between 45 and 85 degrees.

Use the News

Print out this weeks Use the News printable activity page for students. Or use the questions on that page to check student comprehension.

Use the News: Answer Key
Use the News: Reading Comprehension
1. d, 2. d, 3. d, 4. b, 5. a.
Language Practice: Building Vocabulary
1. a, 2. b, 3. d, 4. b, 5. c.
Main Idea
A new airline is helping some pet owners travel with less stress.

Follow-Up Activities

Reading for information. Challenge students to learn about airline policies related to pets and to create a simple chart that shows for each airline 1) what types of pets passengers can transport, 2) the number of pets a passenger can transport, and 3) the cost/price range of transporting a pet. Students might gather information using airline Web sites or one of these online resources:

The students completed chart might look something like this:


Types of Pets

Number of Pets

Cost Per Pet

Airline # 1 name
goes here




Airline # 2 name
goes here




Airline # 3 name
goes here




Airline # 4 name
goes here




Airline # 5 name
goes here




Airline # 6 name
goes here






Use the Comprehension Check work sheet (see above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News questions on the news story page.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

National Standards

FINE ARTS: Visual Arts
NA-VA.K-4.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
NA-VA.K-4.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 5 - 8
NA-VA.5-8.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
NA-VA.5-8.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 9 - 12
NA-VA.9-12.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
NA-VA.9-12.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.9-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.5 Communication Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

NSS-EC.K-4.7 Markets and Market Prices
NSS-EC.K-4.8 Supply and Demand
NSS-EC.K-4.9 Competition in the Marketplace
NSS-EC.K-4.14 Entrepreneurs
GRADES 5 - 8
NSS-EC.5-8.7 Markets and Market Prices
NSS-EC.5-8.8 Supply and Demand
NSS-EC.5-8.9 Competition in the marketplace
NSS-EC.5-8.14 Entrepreneurs
GRADES 9 - 12
NSS-EC.9-12.7 Markets and Market Prices
NSS-EC.9-12.8 Supply and Demand
NSS-EC.9-12.9 Competition in the Marketplace
NSS-EC.9-12.14 Entrepreneurs

NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms
NSS-G.K-12.4 Human Systems

See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World®
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