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

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United Airlines is suspending new reservations for cargo-hold pet transportation as it reviews this business, following a wave of negative publicity after the death of a puppy on board and mix-ups involving several dogs sent to the wrong destinations. This comes after a United flight attendant reportedly told a passenger to place their dog in the overhead bin, which resulted in the animal's death.

The incidents are the most recent of United's public relations disasters since last April, when passenger David Dao was violently dragged off a flight to make room for commuting crew.

Last week was an extraordinary bad week for pets flying on United. Two days later, another flight made an unplanned landing in OH because it was carrying a dog that was put on the wrong plane.

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"We are deeply committed to the safety and comfort of the animals and pets in our care", the airline wrote in a post on its site. In 2017, 1.3 out of every 10,000 animals the carrier transported in cargo holds died, according to the Transportation Department, compared with 0.47 out of every 10,000 across all airlines that reported data. Two days earlier, the airline sent a Kansas City, Mo. -bound German shepherd to Japan after switching it with a Great Dane.

The suspension will not affect pets that travel in an aircraft's cabin.

United's announcement on Tuesday mentions that the company is reviewing its service for cabin-flying pets and will "issue bright colored bag tags to help better identify pets who are traveling in-cabin".

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Neither in the telephone call nor during the Thursday morning meeting did the engineer raise life-safety concerns over the crack. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the disaster, but has yet to determine what caused the collapse .

The airline carries more animals in cargo than any other US carrier - about 138,000 previous year.

United and other airlines have struggled to handle an onslaught of animals traveling with the airline. A new app called Digi-Pet that debuted in Dallas, tracks key metrics like temperature and oxygen levels through sensors attached to the kennel.

The airline announced on Tuesday that it would temporarily halt its cargo pet-shipping program after a string of mishaps.

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