NEARLY 1,000 animals have been enrolled in an airline’s frequent flyers’ programme for pets.
Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Flying Paws’ scheme has attracted 596 dogs and 402 cats as it has sought to cash in on the reluctance of passengers to be parted from their companions when they travel.
Virgin has carried 3,000 animals since 2003 following the widespread acceptance of pet passports under the PETS Travel Scheme, which this year celebrates its sixth anniversary.
There has even been the odd celebrity pet passengers, including the new Lassie - whose real name is Carter.
Owners receive gifts for their pet - such as a name tag or even a dog-sized T-shirt.
The more often the pets fly, the more lavish the presents they receive, with transatlantic animal commuters being offered perks from blow dries and pedicures to Prada and Gucci clothing.
Owners get 1,000 frequent flyer points that can be cashed in for tickets. Pet fares are based on the size of the cage - a ticket to New York starts at £210.