United bars pets in plane cargo holds until review completed

21 March, 2018, 08:21 | Author: Natasha Holloway
  • Boeing 767-300ER aircraft takes off from Zurich Airport

United Airlines is suspending new reservations for cargo-hold pet transportations after several incidents occured last week, leading to a wave of negative publicity.

A flight attendant told Catalina Robledo and her daughter Sophia Ceballos, 11, to place their pet carrier in the overhead compartment, where little Kokito died.

United said it would immediately stop taking reservations for pets to travel in the program and expected the investigation of the program would be complete by May 1.

Although there were no animal-related disturbances on the vast majority of United flights, Hobart said, the airline wants to ensure that all pets travel safely and without incident.

And another flight made an unscheduled landing in OH after the airline learned a dog was on the wrong plane.

The suspension will not affect pets that travel in an aircraft's cabin.

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United's PetSafe program is an option for passengers with pets that are not eligible for travel in-cabin; animals travel in pressurized, climate-controlled compartments similar to passenger cabins. Two days earlier, the airline sent a Kansas City, Mo. -bound German shepherd to Japan after switching it with a Great Dane. The dog was being transported as part of United's PetSafe program, designated for animals that can not be brought into the cabin inside a carrier, and must instead travel in the cargo hold. The airline will contact customers who booked their pets to fly between Tuesday and May 1.

"This is a thorough and systematic review of our program", he said.

United and other airlines have struggled to handle an onslaught of animals traveling with the airline. The measures include distributing pet travel documents and itineraries directly to airport managers, and a new process for loading animals onto planes that involves multiple checks and confirmations before departure.

On Tuesday, the airline announced that it would temporarily stop transporting pets in the cargo holds of its aircraft.

United says it will take the next few weeks to review its safety procedures, possibly consulting independent experts.

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