With many airlines catering to pet travelers, United Airlines offers a ‘PetSafe’ program. On their website they state, “PetSafe offers airport-to-airport delivery for animals and features a 24-hour live animal desk, the ability to track pets from origin to destination and more.” Depending on the size and weight of your pet, the PetSafe program can range between $189 and $659.
United’s PetSafe program promises that pets will be held before and after flights and during layovers in a temperature controlled cargo facility, and transported to and from the planes in a temperature appropriate van.
Although the marketing for PetSafe is slick, don’t be fooled. It doesn’t translate to your pets being flown safely.
Pawnation posted a horrifying story about a woman trying to provide the best travel arrangements for her pets when she was moving from San Diego to Boston in July. Janet Sinclair used PetSafe to transport her Greyhound, Sedona, and her cat, Alika.
The recent Pawnation articles states, “PetSafe promised personal care of the pets under temperature-controlled conditions, as well as a comfort and safety stop in Houston for an extra fee. In reality, the stop was anything but comfortable and safe. Sinclair said that she watched from her window seat as an employee kicked Sedona’s crate six times to move it into shade instead of moving it gently.”
A video that Sinclair took with her smartphone while waiting on the delayed flight (no longer available online) shows her pets being left outside in the 94-degree summer heat. Sinclair said the ordeal of traveling brought Sedona to the brink of death.
“Sedona’s entire crate was filled with blood, feces, urine,” Sinclair said. “Sedona was in full heat stroke. All of the blankets were filled with blood. She was urinating and defecating blood. She was dying, literally, right in front of me.” The vet who treated Sedona confirmed she suffered from heat stroke, a urinary tract infection, kidney failure and liver problems. She spent three days in intensive care.
A recent Reuters article stated, “Pets flying with their owners are killed, injured or lost on average once every 10 days, according to Mary Beth Melchior, founder of the watchdog group Where Is Jack Inc. who keeps a tally of large carriers’ reports to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Her organization is named for a 5-year-old cat who died in 2011 after being lost for two months in New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.”
Tempted to fly your pet during the upcoming holidays? Lost pets can be as common as lost luggage during the high travel seasons. The Humane Society of the United States recommends that you do not transport your pet by air unless absolutely necessary.
Sign the petition asking United Airlines to pay the vet bills for the dogs injured while traveling on United. While United Airlines did actually offer to pay for her veterinary care, it was only on the condition of her signing a non-disclosure statement.
Have you had any positive or negative experiences flying with your pets? Thanks for sharing them in a comment below.
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