United Airlines suspends PetSafe program

After multiple mishaps, United Airlines suspends cargo shipment of pets

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In the wake of multiple pet-related mishaps aboard United Airlines’ flights, the company has temporarily suspended the shipment of pets in the cargo area of the airplanes. According to the Chicago Tribune, flights already booked through the airline’s PetSafe program will be honored – but new reservations are not allowed.

The suspension does not impact pets who are flying with their owners in the cabin – though the most serious “mishap” involved the death of a French bulldog puppy who apparently suffocated to death in an overhead bin after a flight attendant demanded that the pet’s carrier be stowed there during a flight. Though United has claimed responsibility for the puppy’s death, they have indicated that the flight attendant in question did not “hear or understand” that there was a puppy inside of the carrier that was stowed in the overhead compartment.

Recently, a family’s senior German shepherd was accidentally loaded onto the wrong plane and shipped to Japan, and someone’s Great Dane wound up in Kansas City, rather than Japan. Both dogs eventually made it back to their intended destinations. Yet another snafu involved a dog being loaded onto the wrong plane which was bound for St. Louis, instead of Akron, Ohio. The airline realized the mistake and diverted the entire flight.

(Image via Pixabay)

Read more about United Airline’s voluntary suspension of the PetSafe program here.

More news and updates at the National Animal News Facebook page

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9 replies
  1. Barkley's Mom says:

    I’m appalled that they would ship dogs as cargo in the first place, I wouldn’t want my pet down among all the baggage and in a less than climate controlled environment in the first place. They have continually shown a lack of responsibility with their “PetSafe Program” and it should either have been overhauled or shut down long ago!

    • linda says:

      Agree. So the pet carrier did not give an indication to the flight attendant that a pet was inside?!!!! I say BULLSHIT!!!!

  2. pennysdachshunds says:

    Then WHAT THE HELL WAS BARKING and CRYING OUT FOR HOURS ::: UNTIL He DIED???? a stuffed rabbit!!! IF the United Airlines Administration Fall for the “DOWNRIGHT BOGUS STORY” this flight attendant came up with… the need to SELL the ENTIRE AIRLINE because each and every one of the STUPID BASTARDS are INCOMPETENT!!!!!

  3. Red says:

    They better not let that flight attendant off!!! SHE IS LYING saying she did know there was a live animal in that carrier!!! I know the pet parent did not speak English but her daughter did….AND everyone around them said they could HEAR THE PUPPY CRYING AND BARKING….. if this attendant truly did not know….she is deaf and too stupid to be flying!

  4. Jessica says:

    United Airlines Cargo lost my puppy. She was suppose to be on a 4 hour flight with an hour and a half lay over in Denver, CO. I show up on time to pick her up. She wasn’t there. It took them over 2 hours to find her. The breeder was on the phone calling them, I was talking to them. At first I was told she in Chicago, IL. Then still in Denver, CO due to weather. Then she got delayed again. Her 4 hour trip ended up being 12.5 hours long! We still have to drive over an hour to get home. Took her to the vet the next day. She checked out healthy. That plane must had ran into nasty weather because for a year she have turbulence dreams, shaking and rocking like you do on a plane.

  5. Nancy Raymond says:

    The suspension of animals being shipped like damn luggage in cargo being suspended by UA is just another lousy and very poor excuse for this airline’s total incompetence regarding animal care. They have no problem charging outrageous sums for animal transportation but are unable to do so safely. United Airlines and their idiot staff have killed over 18 animals in the past year and yet, they totally ignore their irresponsible staff’s ability to protect these defenseless pets. This airline needs a complete overhaul starting with getting rid of the attendant who killed a tiny puppy and pretends it was a miscommunication. No way will I ever use this airline – they have proven their lack taking responsibility for their failures – NO animal should be in cargo – maybe that is where their crap employees should be.


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