United Airlines has announced that it will resume shipping pets in the cargo compartment later this summer. Called PetSafe, United had suspended the program after a number of mistakes that included mistakenly sending a customer’s pet dog to Japan instead of Kansas. United had decided to put the program on pause while it reviewed its procedures.
United also said that it has partnered with American Humane to “improve the well-being of all pets that travel on United.” American Humane is a national humane animal organization that has been in operation for more than 140 years.
In a written statement Jan Krems, United’s vice president of cargo, said that the collaboration would help the airline to further improve its service and make improvements in animal comfort, well-being and travel.
In addition to temporarily suspending its PetSafe program, United has faced a number of other animal controversies in recent months. In March a puppy died onboard a United flight after a flight attendant reportedly directed it to be placed in an overhead bin. After the incident United said that it would issue brightly colored tags to passengers traveling with in-cabin animals to help flight attendants easily identify them.
On March 1, United’s new policy on emotional support animals took effect. The new policy requires customers traveling with emotional support animals to provide confirmation that the animal has been trained to behave properly in a public setting and acknowledge responsibility for the animal’s behavior. The customer must also provide a health and vaccination form signed by the animal’s veterinarian, and the veterinarian must also affirm that there is no reason to believe that the animal will pose a threat to the health and safety of others on the aircraft or cause a significant disruption in service. United said it developed the new policy following a 75 percent year over year increase in customers bringing such animals onboard, as well as a significant increase in onboard incidents involving these animals.
In its latest statement announcing the resumption of PetSafe and its partnership with American Humane, United said that it would continue to review all pet handling processes and policies, including in-cabin pet travel. The airline is also working to identify new policies and update training and customer requirements to improve pet safety.