United Airlines temporarily suspends transport of pets in cargo holds

United Airlines temporarily suspends transport of pets in cargo holds

March has been tough on dogs flying with United Airlines.

A week after a dog died in an overhead bin and another was shipped to Japan instead of Kansas, United Airlines is reevaluating its handling of pets. A day later, a German shepherd headed from OR to Kansas wound up in Japan after being mixed up with a Great Dane during a connection in Denver.

And another flight made an unscheduled landing in OH after the airline learned a dog was on the wrong plane. The plane made an extra stop in Akron, where it was reunited with its family.

"We know we need to improve, but we also know the best way to do that is to stop and take a look at this", said Charlie Hobart, a company spokesman.

The carrier said the review is expected to be finished by May 1.

The move does not affect pets flying in the cabin with their owners.

Pets fly in the cabin, if the airline permits it, or in the cargo hold, which is typically for larger pets.




Ron McCallum is a seasoned pilot and aviation attorney weighing in on United's decision to temporarily halt its pet-shipping business.

Passengers will still be allowed to bring small animals in portable carriers in the cabin of the plane.

United transported about 140,000 animals a year ago, significantly more than any other USA airline.

The latter has become a point of controversy for United and other airlines since emotional support animals don't require special training, just a note from a licensed medical professional stating that the animal is necessary to the passenger's mental and emotional health. "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 announced it would begin next month issuing brightly colored bag tags for pets to help flight attendants more easily identify the animals.

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

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