Pet Travel. Made Easy.

United Airlines Discriminates Against Certain Dog Breeds

“Fly the friendly skies” is the motto of United Airlines. Unfortunately, during their recent merger with Continental, they’ve adopted some policies that are decidedly less than friendly … especially for pet travelers.

Last week United announced their new PetSafe® program, billing it as an improvement over their previous pet travel options. The program offers the options of tracking animals that are traveling as cargo and accepts small pets and service animals for travel in cabin.

“United is committed to providing a safe and comfortable travel experience for all of our customers, including pets. Because we share our customers’ concern that their pets’ flights are stress-free, we have enhanced our animal acceptance policy to transport pets as both baggage (accompanying a passenger on the same plane) and cargo. Our program is called PetSafe®.”

However, today we confirmed with a PetSafe representative that, unless you purchased your ticket and made a reservation for your pet prior to February 6th, pets will no longer be allowed to fly in baggage compartment on the same plane as their owner. Instead, pets that are too large to be permitted in-cabin must be flown as cargo on a separate plane, with exceptions for service animals and dogs of military families being transferred.

Traveling Dog in Lea

In addition, United has banned these nine breeds and mixes of these breeds from any flight, because they consider them “dangerous”:

  • Pit Bull Terriers
  • American Staffordshire Terriers
  • Presa Canario
  • Perro de Presa Canario
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Cane Corso
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Tosa (or Tosa Ken)
  • Ca de Bou

The merger between United and Continental makes them the world’s largest air carrier and the only US-based airline that has breed discrimination rules. Canine profiling is not the example we want to see this company setting!

What Can You Do?

We need to let United know that it’s wrong to discriminate based on appearance. You can start by choosing a different airline – and we’ve gathered the airline’s pet policies to make that easier for you. Contacting United to voice your disappointment will also help – they’re paying especially close attention to customer feedback during the merger period.

You can also support Jessie Huart’s petition at Jessie discovered United’s new policy when she tried to book a flight with her dog and was told that Slaw, her 10-year-old pit bull, wasn’t allowed because of his breed. Jessie’s petition emphasizes that each dog is an individual with his own unique personality and should be judged based on temperament, not on appearance or breed. Sign the petition to let United know you agree.

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  • Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!

  • We have flown dogs around the world on airlines without a problem. A couple of things to remember. If it’s going to be 85 degrees or more at departure or arrival destination within 24 hours of scheduled trip, the airline won’t take the pet (most airlines). The baggage bin of the aircraft where the dogs go is heated with the same air at the same temp as goes in the cabin.

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