United suspends pet cargo flights after negative incidents regarding animals aboard planes

Ivan Schwartz
March 21, 2018

United Airlines is suspending new reservations for cargo-hold pet transportations after several incidents occured last week, leading to a wave of negative publicity. While the review is being conducted, United will not accept any new reservations for pets traveling in cargo, but existing reservations will be honored.

United had the worst rate of pet deaths in 2017 of any US airline, according to the Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Report. Last week, a small dog died after it was put in the overhead bin on a United flight.

United has also announced that pets traveling in an aircraft's cabin will be marked with brightly colored bag tags to ensure they are not mistakenly placed in the overhead bin. The customers have disputed that claim. United expects the review to be concluded by May 1st. On Tuesday, a German shepherd wound up in Japan and a Great Dane flew to Kansas City, Missouri, after the airline mixed up their destinations.

United told the Associated Press on Tuesday that it will halt PetSafe reservations while it reviews the service that allows customers to ship their pets as cargo.

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United did not identify specific aspects of the PetSafe program it's targeting for review but said it plans to work with independent experts in pet safety, comfort and travel.

Though United is temporarily pausing its program for pets traveling in cargo, the suspension will not affect pets that are traveling with their owners in cabins.

Representatives for American Airline and Delta Air Lines said the carriers were not planning any changes to their policies for transporting animals in cargo.

Last week was an extraordinary bad week for pets flying on United. In 2017, airlines reported 24 deaths, 15 injuries and one loss in almost 507,000 animals transported, according to Department of Transportation data.

Other reports by GizPress

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