United suspends pet cargo flights

United Airlines said it’s suspending a program that transports pets in cargo holds.

It will stop accepting new reservations for its PetSafe program, though it will honor any reservations made through March 20, the airline said.

The suspension comes as United reviews its pet transport policies, a process that should be completed by May 1.

“We’re going to do a top-to-bottom review of the PetSafe operation,” said United spokesman Charlie Hobart. “Our goal is to continue to ensure the safety and comfort of pets and all animals that fly with us.”

Passengers can still carry small pets with them in carry-on luggage. Starting in April, in-cabin pets will be issued “bright colored bag tags” to help identify the animals.

United has experienced some major pet-traveling disasters recently. Last week, a small dog died after it was put in the overhead bin on a United flight. Then the carrier mistakenly shipped a Kansas-bound dog to Japan, and in a separate incident, it had to divert another flight to Akron, Ohio, after the airline realized a pet had been loaded onto the flight in error.

Related:

Of all US airlines, United had the highest rate of pet deaths in 2017. And in 2016. And in 2015. 

Dog bound for Kansas mistakenly shipped to Japan via United Airlines 

Senators file WOOFF Act after United dog death 

Dog dies after flight attendant insists woman put carrier in overhead bin