With United Airlines, pets fly the deadly skies
United Airlines has suspended their PetSafe program that allowed passengers to have their pets transported in the cargo hold. Small pets will still be admitted in cabin in carry-on luggage. The decision is the consequence of three mishaps in one week.
The first tragic accident happened on March 13, 2018, when a 10 months old French bulldog died during a flight. According to witnesses, the flight crews asked its owner, a woman accompanied by her daughter and a baby, to put the puppy in the overhead compartment.
Despite the cries of agony of the animal and the protest of the family, they were not allowed to open the compartment during the three hours flight. The dog eventually went silent.
It was only after the plane had landed that the family discovered the bulldog had suffocated, even though the flight crew had assured the animal would be safe. United Airlines has confirmed its staff was in the wrong, and issued an apology.
The second mishap saw a dog being sent to the wrong destination on March 13, 2018. Instead of their 10 years old German shepherd named Irgo, the Swindles family found a Great Dane when they arrived in Kansas City. That dog was in fact expected in Narita, Japan.
But it is Irgo that flew all the way across the Pacific ocean. 48 hours later, the German shepherd was transported on a private charter and was finally reunited with his family.
The serie ended on March 15 when a United flight on its way from Newark to St. Louis had to be diverted to Akron because it was transporting a pet that was due to fly there. The animal had been loaded on the plane by mistake. That last accident was the final blow.
After suspension, United Airlines will now review the policies of its PetSafe program to “ensure the safety and comfort of pets and all animals that fly” with them. Last year already, the conditions in which pets were transported by United Airlines had been questioned a giant rabbit named Simon — who was expected to one day become the biggest in the world — died in the cargo hold of a United flight on April 20, 2017.
“Fly the Friendly Skies” promises United Airlines. Facts prove otherwise. The policy review comes about time, as the numbers were becoming alarming. Of the 24 pets that died on flight in 2017, 18 of them were flying with United Airlines. The reviewing should be completed by May 1, 2018.
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