Tucson pet shipper affected by United Airlines travel embargo

Sean Reid
March 21, 2018

As a result of several negative incidents involving the transportation of animals on flights, United Airlines announced it will stop the shipment of pets in airplane cargo holds while officials conduct a full investigation.

The airline said effective immediately it will stop accepting new reservations for its petsafe program but it will honor any reservations made through March 20th.

United says it expects to complete the review by May 1st.

Other recent United incidents reportedly involved a German shepherd ending up in Japan instead of Kansas City, Missouri, and a different United flight making an unplanned landing because it was carrying a dog that should have been on another plane. (The dog was flown back in a private jet.) Another dog, bound for Akron, Ohio, was mistakenly loaded onto a flight from Newark, New Jersey, to St. Louis.

Pets fly in the cabin, if the airline permits it, or in the cargo hold, which is typically for larger pets. It does not affect pets traveling in the cabin, like the French bulldog that died.

Earlier this month, a dog died when it was forced into an overhead bin of a United flight.

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

United recently announced in a separate move that it would impose stricter rules on emotional support animals flying in cabins, after one passenger tried to take a peacock onboard.

United's announcement on Tuesday mentions that the company is reviewing its service for cabin-flying pets and will "issue bright colored bag tags to help better identify pets who are traveling in-cabin".

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.

United and other airlines have struggled to handle an onslaught of animals traveling with the airline.

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

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