United Suspends Program That Lets Passengers Ship Pets In Cargo Holds

Randal Sanchez
March 21, 2018

Under the current embargo, people who've made reservations through March 20 will still be able to transport their pets on United Airlines.

Since the PetSafe service is for animals in the freight compartment, different procedures for the programme wouldn't have helped protect the bulldog, which died in the passenger cabin.

The program pause does not affect existing reservations.

United, which took full responsibility for the death, claimed the flight attendant "did not hear or understand" Robledo when she said there was a dog in the carrier.

"It is to further minimize risk and further increase the comfort and well-being of the animals that we carry and finding the best way to do things".

The suspension comes as United reviews its pet transport policies, a process that should be completed by May 1, according to the airline.

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The review follows three high profile incidents involving pets travelling on United flights. In that instance, a flight attendant instructed the dog's owner to place the pet in an overhead bin instead of keeping it in its carrier under a seat.

When HuffPost asked United for additional information about pets flying in cabins, the company directed us to its detail about colored tags.

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.

But military families stationed on Guam rely on United to ship large pets on and off the island after Delta canceled its service to Guam early this year.

Irgo the German shephard was flying as cargo from Portland to Kansas City when a mix-up sent him to Japan. In 2017, airlines reported 24 deaths, 15 injuries and one loss in almost 507,000 animals transported, according to Department of Transportation data.

"We are taking this voluntary action to conduct a thorough and systematic review of our PetSafe program and make improvements that will ensure the best possible experience for our customers and their pets", the statement said.

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