Published: Wed, March 21, 2018
Finance | By Cynthia Curry

United Airlines suspends program for pets flying in cargo compartments

United Airlines suspends program for pets flying in cargo compartments

Last week, a French bulldog died after being placed in an overhead bin on a flight from Houston to NY.

The airline will honor reservations confirmed as of March 20 for pets scheduled to fly in the cargo hold, but it will not accept new reservations.

The potential dip in business, expected to last at least through May 1, is not faring well with animal transportation services and pet owners.

The airline also said it will work with customers who want to cancel existing PetSafe reservations.

In wake of the incident, United announced it will now put brightly colored tags on pet carriers in plane cabins.

United Airlines has drawn intense scrutiny in the past week, after a German shepherd was mistakenly shipped from OR to Japan, rather than its intended destination of Kansas City, Mo.

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The death of the French bulldog flying from Houston to New York City was the worst of a series of mishaps involving dogs this month.

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. This year, United and Delta Air Lines have added requirements that passengers traveling with emotional support animals sign paperwork asserting that the animal can behave on a flight. But because Andersen Air Force Base does not have those flights, pets can not be flown in and out of Guam by military transport, Andersen officials said in a statement posted to the Andersen Passenger Terminal Facebook page March 20.

The airline says it is conducting a "thorough and systematic review" for pets that travel in cargo and is partnering with independent experts in pet safety and travel.

The airline plans to review its pet shipping program by May 1.

United Airlines will temporarily stop carrying animals in its planes' cargo compartments, USA Today reported.

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.

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