Couple charters $100,000 private jet to fly pet dogs to Europe: ‘Important for them to see more than backyard’
A couple has chartered a $100,000 private jet so they can travel the globe with their three dogs in tow.
Melanie Demi, 26, and her husband, Albert, 27, an account executive, dreamed of travelling Europe with their three dogs - Great Dane Lucas, two, Golden Retriever, Cooper, 15, and Dachshund mix, Brooklyn, six.
To achieve their goal, the couple saved $45,000 over two years, which also meant selling all of their belongings, including their car, to fund their adventure.
After forking out for their private jet - alongside fellow pet lovers who all chipped in - the pair travelled from Austin, Texas, to Paris, France, in September.
The pair and their dogs have since visited six countries, including France, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, England and Scotland. Once in Europe, they hired cars and travelled by train from country to country.
The jetsetters, who work remotely and who stay at dog-friendly Airbnbs, have now been on the road for four months. However, they plan to continue their travels until November 2023, before they head back home to Austin.
Of the once-in-a-lifetime trip, Melanie, a media marketing consultant and content creator, said: “Getting the dogs from the US to Europe took so much planning, but we couldn’t leave them at home - we want to see the world with them. We planned our own charter trip and managed to find 10 other people heading to Europe with their dogs.”
“It took three months of planning and cost $11,000 per person and more than $100,000 for the whole flight,” she continued. “We saved around $45,000 over two years and sold everything we had to be able afford it.
“But now the dogs have seen Paris, Prague, Vienna, and we’re planning to drive around the Scottish Highlands. I think the dogs really enjoy it.”
However, Melanie said that people on social media often ask why the couple didn’t just leave the dogs at home.
“The dogs might not know where they are, but they love exploring new places and it’s about having them with us and making memories,” she explained. “Sitting at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and seeing them roll on the grass, or at the Christmas markets where they got a lot of pets, or running on the beach in Edinburgh, it’s all just incredible.”
Melanie and Albert decided to take their dogs on a transatlantic adventure in May 2020, at which point they started saving and planning their trip.
They drove 3,000 miles across America - from Texas to New York - before the pair and their canine companions then boarded a specially charted private jet from New York to Paris, France.
As for why they didn’t travel via a cruise or by placing the dogs in the cargo hold, the couple explained that Great Dane Lucas was deemed too heavy to travel in cargo and the only pet friendly cruise liner didn’t accept his breed.
The couple also looked into boarding other private planes flying to Portugal or London, England, but none of the dates worked for them.
Eventually, they took the plunge and chartered their own private jet for other people travelling with dogs - costing $102,000 in total.
Melanie said: “I knew how much work was going to go into finding people who wanted to do the same thing and I’m a very busy person with essentially two full-time jobs. In order to book the flight, we had to ask people to send the money over and that’s a lot of money to ask someone to send when you’ve only spoken over Facebook.”
After touching down in France, the couple and their pooches now spend their days exploring and adventuring - working remotely in the evenings.
Melanie said: “Being able to travel in general is something I’m very grateful for but doing it with the dogs makes me feel very lucky. There are times when I catch them just staring and it seems like they’re just taking everything in.”
“I have a video of my Great Dane just resting his head on the Charles Bridge in Prague and it looks like he’s just taking it all in. I think they’re happy wherever we go,” she continued, adding that the couple has a “rule of two big adventures a week with the dogs - like taking them to the beach”.
“All I care about is them living their best life,” she said.
However, Melanie admitted travelling with dogs and their extra luggage can be difficult, and that the couple has been trying to donate items they don’t need as they go.
She said: “Moving from place to place with the dogs has made me realise we have too much stuff to get on a train for example. We’ve been trying to donate clothes as we go - I gave a full suitcase to a friend. We’ve had to take two cars before for dogs and luggage.”
Melanie and Albert are currently in Edinburgh, Scotland, and have a jam-packed year of sight-seeing before they return home to Texas.
They plan to head to the French Riviera, before moving on to Italian wine country and stopping in Florence. It’s then on to Croatia and Kosovo, with a stop in Albania to visit Albert’s relatives.
Finally, they’ll go to Oktoberfest in Germany, and the Rugby World Cup back in France. “There’s just so much to see,” Melanie said. “There’s something just so amazing about getting a rental car and driving from country to country.”