United Airlines will ban dozens of dog breeds from flying in cargo holds due to safety concerns

With summer just around the corner, you're probably making travel plans - but if you're including pets in your trip, a recent change from United Airlines could make traveling with pets a little more difficult. United Airlines bans dozens of dog breeds from flying in the cargo hold, and if your dog falls into one of the now-banned categories, you could be affected. Effective June 18, the airline will only allow cats and dogs to fly and will ban more than 30 dog breeds from the cargo hold, including bulldogs, pugs, Shih Tzus and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Four species of cats, including Himalayan and Persian cats, are also banned from the cargo hold. The full list is here. According to United's website, the airline will not accept reservations for dogs and cats with short or snub-nosed noses "due to concerns about increased adverse health risks."

The news follows an incident in March in which a flight attendant allegedly made a passenger place her French bulldog overhead on a plane, causing it to suffocate. According to CNN, United Airlines temporarily suspended pet cargo transportation after the incident, but it will resume on June 18.

Now, the airline is partnering with American Humane, a non-profit organization focused on animal welfare, to make pet travel safer. "We look forward to a long-term partnership and appreciate their expertise as we continue to further improve our service," Jan Krems, United's vice president of cargo, said in a press release. While we continue to review our processes to ensure we are always doing the right thing, we are committed to making significant improvements to our program and adhering to best practices for animal comfort, well-being and travel on behalf of our customers and their pets."

United also will not accept crates taller than 30 inches and will stop selling crates at the airport. Additionally, you will not be able to bring your pet to or from Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Phoenix or Tucson during the summer "due to heat restrictions." You must provide photos and crate information before your pet's reservation is confirmed. The airline said it works with the Humane Society of the United States to try to make travel safer for pets. Press release:

"Transporting pets comes with various 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," said Robin Ganzer, president of the Humane Society of the United States Dr. Robin Ganzert said. CEO.

Some dog lovers weren't happy with the new changes, saying on Twitter that the company unfairly penalized certain dog breeds. But a 2011 New York Times article revealed that companies such as American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have banned brachycephalic (aka "short-nosed") pets for years because they are more likely to experience breathing difficulties. It might feel unfair for United to change dog breeds, but it's simply keeping in line with its competitors. Ganzett said the nonprofit evaluated the airline's pet procedures before making its recommendations.

"United serves thousands of customers and their pets every day, and we believe it is our responsibility to step in as an independent third party to help evaluate and further improve their pet safety program and in-flight experience to ensure it delivers One of the following services: the best in the industry,” she said in the release. The airline said it will work with the Humane Society of the United States throughout the year to improve its policies.

For United travelers who often bring their dogs with them, this may be an inconvenience now that the situation is more difficult, but the airline is responding to public scrutiny and making changes in the wake of the tragedy. The new rules may seem overzealous, but it's better to be safe than sorry.