United Makes Exception, Will Fly Home Military Pets

Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Alan Guan, assigned to the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40), holds a dog during a community relations event at Guam Animals in Need shelter in Yigo, on Feb. 9, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Heather C. Wamsley)
Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Alan Guan, assigned to the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40), holds a dog during a community relations event at Guam Animals in Need shelter in Yigo, on Feb. 9, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Heather C. Wamsley)

If United Airlines shipped your pet to your duty station, the carrier will also ship it home, officials confirmed Tuesday.

United officials said that the military-only exception to the airline's new pet shipment program, known as PetSafe, will let troops circumvent a series of stringent new rules announced early this month that could otherwise have left some military pets stranded at faraway duty stations such as Guam and Japan.

"The guiding principle -- I don't even want to call it a policy -- is an approach we're taking that if we flew your pet there, we'll fly it back," said Charles Hobart, a United spokesman.

United had put a temporary halt to its pet program after a series of highly public shipment disasters, including pets sent to the wrong location and the death of a dog in an aircraft cabin. The carrier then announced a new policy May 1 that bans "giant" crates taller than 30 inches and blocks the shipment of 21 breeds of dogs and four breeds of cats.

But under its current military policy, Hobart said the carrier will make an exception to those new rules for families whose pets they previously shipped to their current duty station.

United is currently the only airline that ships pets to and from Guam.

To access the exemption, military members should fill out this form and email it to petsafe@united.com, Hobart said.

Military members will not be able to fly their pets from June 18 to July 8 while United updates its system, Hobart confirmed.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com.

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