United suspends its pet shipping program after high-profile mishaps

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However, only pets that fit in carriers placed under seats qualify.

United Airlines has suspended its animal shipment services while it conducts an internal investigation into its PetSafe travel program, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

United Airlines has drawn intense scrutiny in the past week, after a German shepherd was mistakenly shipped from OR to Japan, rather than its intended destination of Kansas City, Mo. Then the carrier mistakenly shipped a Kansas-bound dog to Japan, and in a separate incident, it had to divert another flight to Akron, Ohio, after the airline realized a pet had been loaded onto the flight in error. United expects the review to be concluded by May 1st. United has been criticized it has had the most animal deaths in each of the last five years, with 18 of 24 last year. It is unclear how quickly the airline will restart its pet shipment program after the conclusion of the review. The airline also was sued last summer over the death of a giant rabbit on a flight from London to Chicago.

Another public relations fiasco had United weathering public ire and congressional hearings a year ago for having a man dragged off a plane.

We will honor any existing PetSafe reservations confirmed as of March 20, 2018, although we will assist any customer that wishes to cancel their reservation.

The review, expected to finish by May 1, doesn't affect pets in the cabin like the French bulldog that died last week after a flight attendant ordered a passenger to put her pet carrier in the overhead bin. Still, other passengers on the plane said that the dog's owner alerted her several times that there was a dog in the bag.

Days after coming under fire for the death of a dog forced to ride in the overhead bin aboard a United flight, the airline announced Tuesday that it will temporarily stop accepting new reservations to fly pets in cargo while it reviews its procedures.

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