United reviewing pet policy after string of mishaps

Boeing 767-300ER aircraft takes off from Zurich Airport

Boeing 767-300ER aircraft takes off from Zurich Airport

The airline will review the procedures for its PetSafe programme until May 1, including which breeds of dogs it will accept, according to a statement on Tuesday (March 20).

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.

Under fire for its handling of pets, United Continental Holdings Inc. will stop taking reservations for its live-animal shipping program at least until May 1 while it reviews the program.

Last week was an extraordinary bad week for pets flying on United. Two days later, another flight made an unplanned landing in OH because it was carrying a dog put on the wrong plane.

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

Since the death, the airline has mistakenly sent a dog bound for Kansas City to Japan, and diverted a flight to Akron/Canton after another dog was boarded on the wrong aircraft.

It 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 United States airlines transported past year, according to the DOT.

The airlines is saying that they're conducting a "thorough and systematic review" for pets that travel in cargo.

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"We are deeply committed to the safety and comfort of the animals and pets in our care", the airline wrote in a post on its site.

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

The airline has adopted some new policies meant to ensure that animals are tracked and accounted for at all stages of travel. It only prevents customers from making new reservations for their pets.

The announcement comes as the airline is facing a backlash following a series of pet-related mishaps.

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