United Airlines suspends transport of pets in cargo hold

Boeing 767-300ER aircraft takes off from Zurich Airport

The airline said that it has stopped accepting reservations for its PetSafe program, which allows pets to travel in the cargo hold, while it completes the review, though any PetSafe reservations confirmed as of Tuesday will be honored.

Kokito, a 10-month old French bulldog, died last week after a flight attendant insisted that the carrier in which he was being transported be stowed in an overhead bin for the duration of the four-hour flight.

United Airlines is making some major changes to its pet transportation policy.

The move comes after United Airlines accidentally put two dogs on the wrong flights last week.

But military families stationed on Guam rely on United to ship large pets on and off the island after Delta canceled its service to Guam early this year. (The dog was flown back in a private jet.) Another dog, bound for Akron, Ohio, was mistakenly loaded onto a flight from Newark, New Jersey, to St. Louis. Passengers traveling with their pets inside the cabin will not be impacted by the decision.

Last week a German shepherd named Irgo was accidentally sent to Japan, and another United flight was diverted to OH because it was carrying a dog that was put on the wrong plane.

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In wake of the incident, United announced it will now put brightly colored tags on pet carriers in plane cabins.

United Airlines transports more animals in the cargo hold than any other USA airline, according to Department of Transportation data.

"It's not like other [outside the continental United States] stations where multiple airlines fly out, like Japan or Germany", she said.

United Airlines is putting a hold on its pet-shipping business in the wake of a mistake-filled week. "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".

"Our immediate focus right now is improving our services for our customers and pets", Hobart said.

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