United Airlines’ new PetSafe policy brings changes

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – If you plan on flying United Airlines – you may have to leave your pet at home.

The company is making some big changes after issues with dogs on its planes. It’s all part of United’s PetSafe policy. 

Among the changes, United Airlines will no longer allow pets in the cargo area of the plane where luggage is kept. 

Other changes include:

  • Cats and dogs are the only pets that will be allowed to travel.
  • Certain cats and dogs with stub noses and strong-jawed dog breeds will not be allowed to travel on planes for health reasons.
  • Certain airports in hot weather locations will not allow pets to travel during summer months.

The new PetSafe policy is an attempt to avoid cases like the ones we saw earlier this year.  In March, a French bulldog puppy died after a flight attendant told the owner to put the dog in its carrier in the overhead compartment.

Then – just a few weeks later – United Airlines put a dog on a wrong plane and instead of going to Kansas the German Sheppard ended up in Japan.

The changes will only impact unaccompanied animals, those traveling with people in the airplane cabin will still be allowed.

Marth Boden, CEO at SPCA Tampa Bay, says if you are thinking about traveling with your pet, give it a lot of thought. Traveling can be stressful, even for humans.

“Should I bring my pet with me? Is this the kind of pet that is going to do well in a bunch of unfamiliar environments, because there is a bunch of things that happen between your house and your destination,” said Boden.

If the answer is “Yes, my pet can travel.” Then it is time to prepare.

“Are they comfortable in their crate? Is it a crate that they know? If you are traveling with your pet on a plane in a crate introduce them to that crate well in advance of that trip and make sure positive things are happening in that crate. Treats, feeding cuddling,” said Boden.

To see the United Airlines’   PetSafe policy click here.