United stops taking reservations for animals in cargo hold after recent incidents

Irgo a German shepherd owned by a Kansas family was mistakenly flown to Japan

The statement says United will "assist any customer that wishes to cancel their reservation", though it's unclear if that means the company will issue refunds. The first involved a small French bulldog that had been placed-in its approved on-board pet carrier-in an overhead bin at the insistence of a flight attendant, only to be found dead when the flight landed at New York LaGuardia airport. The suspension does not affect the transport of small pets in-cabin, United emphasized.

PetSafe is a service that United Airlines offers that lets owners end their pets on flights.

The airline says it is conducting a "thorough and systematic review" for pets that travel in cargo and is partnering with independent experts in pet safety and travel. We expect to complete our review by May 1, 2018.

United Airlines (UAL) is hitting the pause button on letting customers pay to ship pets as cargo.

United's decision follows incidents last week in which dogs were mistakenly sent to incorrect destinations. PetSafe fares are based on the combined weight of the animal and its shipping crate; for travel originating in the United States, for example, fares range from $201 for an under 10 lb. animal to $2,410 for a 350 lb. animal being sent to continental Europe or Hong Kong.

Kokito died on a United flight after being placed in the overhead bin
Kokito died on a United flight after being placed in the overhead bin

Two days later, another United flight traveling from Newark to St. Louis made an unplanned landing in OH after crew members realized a dog meant to do to Akron had been mistakenly been loaded onto the craft's cargo.

The German shepherd was ultimately returned to its family.

On Tuesday, United Airlines announced that it would temporarily stop transporting pets in the cargo holds of its aircraft as it reviews its PetSafe program.

United spokesman Charles Hobart said the airline is looking to improve the program, not get rid of it. In addition to animal deaths, United has also misplaced two dogs traveling by cargo in the past week alone.

"This visual tag will further help our flight attendants identify pets in-cabin", the company said.

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