New Airline Is the First to Cater to Dogs and Cats ... The New Frequent Fliers?

Weather Watch: If you're traveling to frigid cities in winter or hot spots in the summer, check the airline's pet policy. Some won't carry animals in cargo during weather extremes.

Preparing for the Flight:

ID and Paperwork: Be sure you know what the airline requires in terms of health documentation and bring the paperwork with you. And plaster your animal's name and your contact info on every piece of paper and on the pet carrier.

No Drugs: The American Veterinary Medical Association says "no" to sedating animals that are going to fly, and Pet Airways for example, will not accept any animal that appears to be drugged (it can adversely affect balance and equilibrium, as well as create respiratory and cardiovascular problems).

No Food: It's generally recommended that animals travel on "an almost empty stomach."

Carrier Notes: Your pet's carrier must be large enough for the animal to stand up in, and turn around in or the pet won't be accepted by the airline. And make sure your pet is familiar with the sensation of actually being in a carrier. Non-crate trained animals may balk and bark.

Finally, ask yourself if Buddy really wants to go on vacation with you. He might just be happier staying home and destroying a few more tennis balls.

But if he is the adventuresome sort, it's nice to know there are more options today. And nice to know your best bud can frolic on the beach with you that is, when he's not busy racking up his frequent flier miles.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations, including ABC News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Associated Press and Bloomberg. His Web site FareCompare.com offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deal.

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