United Suspends Pet Cargo Flights After Recent Problems

United Suspends Pet Cargo Flights After Recent Problems

Andrew Cummings
March 20, 2018

These hiccups, however, pale in comparison to a heartbreaking incident that occurred on Monday, when a 10-month-old French bulldog died after its owners said a flight attendant insisted the puppy and its carrier be stored in the cabin's overhead bin and the animal suffocated.

United Airlines is reviewing its policies for pet travel in aircraft cargo holds following a series of incidents in recent days. To achieve this outcome, we will partner with independent experts in pet safety, comfort and travel.

On Tuesday, the airline said it will halt PetSafe reservations while it reviews the service, which lets customers ship pets as cargo.

The airline said that it has stopped accepting reservations for its PetSafe program, which allows pets to travel in the cargo hold, while it completes the review, though any PetSafe reservations confirmed as of Tuesday will be honored. One was supposed to head to Akron, but was instead put on a St. Louis flight, while the other was headed for Wichita, but ended up in Japan.

After the dog was sent to Japan, United chartered a private jet to return Irgo to his family.

The bulldog was traveling in the cabin, not with the PetSafe program the airline is suspending, but United said it is also reviewing its service for in-cabin pets.

The program's suspension does not affect pets that fly inside cabins.

United carried about 42 percent more animals in the cargo hold in 2017 than in 2015, and it accounted for about 27 percent of all animals U.S. airlines transported past year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The company previously already announced that starting in April, it will issue brightly colored bag tags that will help better identify animals that are traveling in-cabin.

"This is not the first time something like this has happened", she said.

Other reports by iNewsToday