It's no secret that the airline industry--and particularly United Airlines--has been having some problems caring for pets transported on their flights, both as cargo and in the passenger cabin. Delta Air Lines recently sent an 8-week-old puppy to the wrong destination (it spent the night in a crate in Detroit when it should have been delivered to its new home in Boise, Idaho), and there was the tragic death of a pet dog that suffocated in an overhead storage compartment on a United Airlines flight to New York City.

United Airlines recently made news when on March 20, 2018 it temporarily suspended its PetSafe program for transporting animals that aren't eligible to travel in the aircraft cabin. The airline suspended PetSafe "to conduct a thorough and systematic review" of the program and make improvements where necessary. United expects to complete its review by May 1.

There was just one problem: military families living on Guam were stuck with no way to transport their large pets on or off the island--causing a hardship for families, especially those with orders to move to or from Guam.

"Effective April 3, we are allowing an exception to our suspension of new PetSafe reservations for members of the military and their spouses, and State Department Foreign Service personnel and their spouses, who wish to travel with or ship their pets out of Guam between April 1 and April 30."

While the number of people affected by this policy change by United Airlines is relatively small, I'm personally glad that the airline recognized the difficult position members of the armed forces and their families were put in by the suspension of PetSafe, and it was willing to be flexible to help them out.

In the meantime, here's hoping that United gets to the bottom of why 75 percent of pet deaths on airlines in 2017 were on United Airlines. Whatever it can do to turn that abysmal record into 0 percent will be a huge step in the right direction.

Published on: Apr 3, 2018