United Airlines infamously made news circles around the globe when it inadvertently switched two flyers’ dogs up. Remember the destinations? One dog supposed to be sent to Kansas ended up in Japan, and vice-versa.
Many people are also familiar with a statistic that indicates United Airlines was responsible for 75 percent of all pet deaths aboard planes this year – of all 24 in the United States, 18 belonged to United.
The program those switched dogs were flying on was the “PetSafe” program, an initiative that United Airlines is ceasing immediately. It will be reviewed by May 1, 2018, and will honor all reservations to the PetSafe program made through today – March 20, 2018.
United Airlines press representative Charlie Hobart shared, in response to the company’s suspension of PetSafe, “We’re going to do a top-to-bottom review of the PetSafe operation. Our goal is to continue to ensure the safety and comfort of pets and all animals that fly with us.”
As long as pets are small enough, however, passengers flying United Airlines are free to bring them aboard in carry-on luggage. As soon as April 1, 2018, rolls around, all pets flying in planes’ cabins will be affixed with high-visibility bag stickers to prevent workers from getting confused about what luggage contains and is free of living animals.
United Airlines’ decision to suspend the PetSafe program also comes in response to a dog’s death after a flight attendant left it in an overhead bin.