Two cuddly newborn black bear cubs were too little to travel as cargo and so were given coach seats for their flight from Alaska to a new home in Washington state.
"They're being treated as one would treat a cat or a dog," Alaska Airlines spokesman Greg Witter said in Seattle. "They're so young and they don't have coats to speak of."So the bears traveled with the human passengers, not buckled into seats, but inside the kind of small animal travel cage that might be used for a cat or dog.
An Alaska Airlines customer service representative accompanied the bears, who emerged for infant formula feeding from bottles during the flight.
Although most animals - certainly all large animals - travel cargo class in the belly of the plane, biologists feared the cold innards of the aircraft where freight and big animals ride would chill the cubs to the point of hypothermia.
Weighing only a few pounds, a mere foot long and with just a thin coat of fur, the baby bears have gotten special treatment ever since the mishap that left them as orphans earlier this month just one week after they were born.