Tuesday, 24 April, 2018

United has suspended pet cargo flights after experiencing multiple dog-related incidents

United Airlines temporarily suspends transport of pets in cargo holds United Airlines Pauses Cargo-Hold Pet Transport After Missteps
Jodi Jackson | 21 March, 2018, 08:20

On Tuesday, the spate of missteps prompted United to suspend PetSafe, its program for transporting animals in the cargo holds of planes, while the airline moves to prevent more problems. The first involved a small French bulldog that had been placed-in its approved on-board pet carrier-in an overhead bin at the insistence of a flight attendant, only to be found dead when the flight landed at New York LaGuardia airport.

United said it would immediately stop taking reservations for pets to travel in the program and expected the investigation of the program would be complete by May 1.

The incidents are the most recent of United's public relations disasters since last April, when passenger David Dao was violently dragged off a flight to make room for commuting crew.

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.

And last Thursday, a flight destined for St. Louis took a detour to drop off a pet flying in the cargo bay after the airline discovered it was supposed to arrive in Akron, Ohio.

In addition to conducting a review, United recently updated its guidelines for dogs traveling in bags.

"We are deeply committed to the safety and comfort of the animals and pets in our care", United said in a statement.

This suspension does not affect pets that travel with us in the aircraft's cabin. The company also said the "flight attendant did not hear or understand" the passengers who were asked to store the carrier containing their puppy in the overhead bin, which United called a "tragic accident".

United had the worst rate of pet deaths in 2017 of any USA airline, according to the Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Report.

"It's not like other [outside the continental United States] stations where multiple airlines fly out, like Japan or Germany", she said.

On Tuesday, the airline announced that it would temporarily stop transporting pets in the cargo holds of its aircraft.

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