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United Airlines Suspends Pet Transport Service After Series of Mishaps

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Following a series of mishaps that included loading three dogs onto the wrong flights last week, United Airlines has suspended their pet transportation service until at least May 1.


United Airlines has announced its decision to suspend all new reservations for pets traveling as cargo across all flights following a series of mishaps that included three dogs being boarded onto the wrong flights and a fourth dying in an overhead bin.

“We are conducting a thorough and systematic review of our program for pets that travel in the cargo compartment to make improvements that will ensure the best possible experience for our customers and their pets,” United spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin said in a statement.

The airline will honor reservations already made through their PetSafe program and does not affect animals traveling inside the cabin with their owners.

The program review will include determining which breeds or types of dogs will be allowed to fly as cargo, particularly brachycephalic, or short-nosed, dogs like bulldogs and pugs which have a higher risk of death in flight.

The review is expected to be completed by May 1, 2018.

For at least 18 pet parents, this change and review comes too late. In 2017, 18 of the 25 dogs killed during flights were on United Airlines planes.

The airline has already announced plans to issue brightly colored luggage tags to pet owners carrying animals on board to avoid additional incidents inside cabins.

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