United Airlines announces changes with its pet transport policy, including banning certain breeds of dogs and cats from its flights due to pets' health risks.
More than 40 breeds of dogs and four breeds of cats are no longer allowed to travel with United effective June 18.
The announcement came in the wakes of backlash which the carrier received after a French bulldog puppy died aboard one of its flights in March. In the same month, United accidentally sent a German shepherd to Japan instead of Kansas City. In the same week, the carrier had once again put a pet dog on the wrong connecting flight from Newark.
United Airlines PetSafe Transport Policy
PetSafe is United's program that covers guidelines for transporting cats and dogs that are not allowed to travel in the aircraft cabin.
Starting June 18, no other household pets or animals aside from dogs and cats will be allowed travel under the program. Furthermore, not all dog and cat breeds will be permitted to travel in the plane's lower compartment.
Included in the ban are short-nosed or snub-nosed dogs like the French bulldogs, the breed of the puppy that died in March.
Bigger breeds, specifically those with physically powerful jaws, can no longer fly with the carrier as well. This breed includes the American pit bull and the Belgian Malinois.
The complete list of the prohibited breeds is found here.
Meanwhile, Burmese, Exotic Shorthair, Himalayan, Persian, and mixed-breed cats are no longer allowed as well.
United Airlines Working with American Humane
Even with the changes in place, United will spend the remainder of the year reviewing and continuously enhancing its pet transport policy together with American Humane.
American Humane is the country's first national humanitarian animal organization.
Based on the organization's recommendation, United says it will update its crew training and identify its customer requirements on top of the new pet transport policy.
Statistics Of Pets Dying On Flights
United had the highest rate of pets dying compared to any major U.S. airlines for the past three years according to 2017 statistical data from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Specifically, from 2015 to 2017, there were 41 pets that died aboard United. In comparison, Delta had only 18, American 9, SkyWest 3, and Alaska 7.
While United had transported the highest volume of animal passengers — which could explain why it had the most cases of animal deaths — the airlines still reflected the highest rate of deaths per 10,000 pets.