United suspends pet-cargo service after spate of incidents

21 March, 2018, 08:18 | Author: Luis Fowler
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United Airlines is suspending new reservations for cargo-hold pet transportations after several incidents occured last week, leading to a wave of negative publicity.

In 2017, 18 animals died in United's care, three-fourths of all such deaths on US airlines. The company has already announced that beginning in April, it will issue brightly colored bag tags to better identify animals that are traveling in-cabin.

United expects to finish the review by May 1, though it did not indicate if it will reinstate PetSafe as soon as the review is complete.

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

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We will honor any existing PetSafe reservations confirmed as of March 20, 2018, although we will assist any customer that wishes to cancel their reservation.

Monrad praises United as an excellent airline but remains critical of the company's animal transportation policies - especially as it pertains to the recent cabin death of a French Bulldog and what she calls negligent actions of the flight attendant.

United Airlines transports more animals in the cargo hold than any other US airline, according to Department of Transportation data. That was double the number of deaths in 2016 for United, and three times as many deaths as American, Delta and Alaska airlines recorded collectively a year ago. Passengers traveling with their pets inside the cabin will not be impacted by the decision. See NerdWallet's guides for flying with dogs or cats.

Last week was an extraordinary bad week for pets flying on United. The airline will contact customers who booked their pets to fly between Tuesday and May 1. And not all airlines will transport dogs as cargo: Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways, for example, offer only in-cabin flights, for small dogs and cats. Both were in cargo. In 2017, airlines reported 24 deaths, 15 injuries and one loss in almost 507,000 animals transported, according to Department of Transportation data.

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