Mon, Feb 20, 2012
Cost To Transport Pets Increases
United Airlines has recently announced changes to its pet
transport policy that will increase the cost for military service
members transporting their pets up to 1,300 percent. According to
an article published in Stars & Stripes, military personnel
transferring from the Asian Pacific region back to the United
States currently pay an average of $283 to fly their pet home. The
military contracts with United to provide transportation for
military members at a reduced rate, but the cost for transporting
pets is the service member's responsibility. Under the new policy
due to go into effect on March 3, 2012, that cost will skyrocket to
between $1,440 - $3,869.
"Service members and the flying public in general are outraged
that the United-Continental merger is having such a negative impact
on mans' best friend," said FlyersRights.org spokesman Kate Hanni.
"They are literally forcing people to abandon their pets because
they cannot afford to transport them. This specifically hurts our
military servicemen and women serving overseas, who cannot afford
this prohibitive new pricing."
Comments posted on the UAL Facebook page have been
overwhelmingly negative and many have contacted FlyersRights.org
for assistance. Jessica Simmons, a servicewoman stationed in
Okinawa, reached out to us about her dilemma in trying to transport
her cocker spaniel home and her concern about other pets and their
fate. "Military service members have so many costs during a move
and to charge a minimum of $1400 per pet when moving overseas just
adds to the cost. Unfortunately, this may lead to pet abandonment
on the island for those who can't afford their new prices."
FlyersRights.org says it attempted to contact United to seek
clarification on their new policy, but an agent stated that she
knew nothing about the planned changes. The company web site also
includes no information about it. The organization says it will
continue to follow this situation.
USA Today reports that United says shipping pets as cargo is not
significantly more expensive that checking them as luggage from
most places. Spokeswoman Mary Ryan said the prices changes were due
to a government-mandated fee charged by a third-party handler for
pets being transported from Japan.
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