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United Airlines bars Arizona travelers from flying pets in cargo in summer

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

PHOENIX — Frequent fliers in Arizona may soon have to leave Fido behind if they are traveling in the summer, after an major domestic airline changed its pet policy in response to a tragic incident involving a pet.

United Airlines announced this week that those who use its services to fly to and from Phoenix or Tucson will no longer be able to put their animals in cargo if they travel between May 1 and Sept. 30 due to “high temperature restrictions.”

Travelers flying to or from Las Vegas and Palm Springs will also have these restrictions.

The changes will not affect pets in the cabin.

United stopped its pet-shipping business in March after several dogs were put on wrong flights.

A French bulldog died after a flight attendant told its owner to put its carrier in an overhead bin, but the puppy was not part of the cargo program.

In 2017, 18 animals died on United, three-fourths of all such deaths on U.S. airlines. United cited its willingness to carry riskier breeds barred from other airlines.

The airline said in a statement that it worked with American Humane, the country’s first national humane animal organization, to come up with the rules.

Twenty-five dog and cat breeds, including bulldogs and pugs, will also be barred from flying with the airline “out of concern for higher adverse health risks.”

“American Humane has long been known and respected for setting the gold standard of animal welfare,” Jan Krems, United’s vice president of cargo, said in a statement.

“We look forward to a long-term collaboration and appreciate their expertise in helping us further improve our service on an ongoing and continual basis.”

“Transporting pets introduces a variety of risks and when United approached us, we knew we had to take on the challenge of helping improve and ensure the health, safety and comfort of so many animals,” Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

“United serves thousands of customers and their pets each day, and we saw it as our duty to come in as an independent, third party to help evaluate and further improve their PetSafe program and the in-cabin experience to ensure it offers one of the best in the industry.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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