United’s New ‘Anti-Pet’ Policy Sparks Military Backlash

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by sobore, Feb 16, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://news.gnom.es/pr/uniteds-new-anti-pet-policy-sparks-military-backlash

    United Airlines has recently announced changes to its pet transport policy that will increase the cost for military service members transporting their pets up to a whopping 1,300 percent! According to an article published in Stars & Stripes, military personnel transferring from the Asian Pacific region back to the United States currently pay an average of $283 to fly their pet home. The military contracts with United to provide transportation for military members at a reduced rate, but the cost for transporting pets is the service member’s responsibility. Under the new policy due to go into effect on March 3, 2012, that cost will skyrocket to between $1,440 – $3,869.

    “Service members and the flying public in general are outraged that the United-Continental merger is having such a negative impact on mans’ best friend,” said FlyersRights.org spokesman Kate Hanni. “They are literally forcing people to abandon their pets because they cannot afford to transport them. This specifically hurts our military servicemen and women serving overseas, who cannot afford this prohibitive new pricing.”

    http://news.gnom.es/pr/uniteds-new-anti-pet-policy-sparks-military-backlash
     
  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Did she undergo a sex change operation? I'll have to pay more attention the next time s/he pops up on cable "news".
     
  3. genemk2

    genemk2 Gold Member

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    Is this just the new PetSafe Program from CO?
     
  4. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    I wonder if this will apply to a military service dog-you know, the kind that acts as guard/attack dog and/or those that do things like EOD. "Something" tells me that COdbaUA is gonna get slapped big time* in the press when they charge Sgt. Smith for transporting Cpl. Fido and then have to do a "retraction"

    *and I hope they do as this change I'm supposed to like <feh> $ucks the proverbial big one :mad:
     
  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    So the new UA is adopting the CO "PetSafe" program, it seems (no big surprise there, many here might think/say).

    I see a lot of numbers fly around, but it's really unclear where the "$4000+" numbers come from. Does CO charge that today for animal cargo shipments?

    Some articles I found:

    http://overheadbin.msnbc.msn.com/_n...ravel-rule-set-to-give-soldiers-sticker-shock

    http://www.stripes.com/shipping-pets-during-pcs-could-cost-nearly-4-000-under-new-rule-1.168509

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/indus...-pets-not-in-cabin-to-fly-as-cargo/53122876/1

    Choice quote:

    "Everyone is talking about it and stressing out over the impending changes," says Jessica Simmons, a Marine pilot's wife based in Okinawa, Japan, in an e-mail.
    Simmons says she was able to check the family's cocker spaniel, Zeke, for $130 when they moved to Japan in 2008. She's now told it will cost "a minimum of $1,400" to send him home as cargo. "I am fearful that those who cannot afford these new prices will leave their pets behind," she says. "If I'd known it wasn't going to cost the same … to get Zeke back to Texas, I would have left him with family."
    United says the cost of shipping pets as cargo isn't significantly greater than for checking them. For instance, the cargo rate for an animal that weighs between 10 and 50 pounds coming to the U.S. from Micronesia would be $309. A smaller animal would cost $259, United spokeswoman Mary Ryan says.
    The significant costs are for animals coming from Japan, where a law requires an extra fee be paid to a third-party handler, Ryan says. "There's some confusion," she says. "That's not a United-Continental cost. That's a government-mandated cost. Our pricing remains competitive."

     
  6. The article was inaccurate - it is CO's petsafe program (that is a story in and of it self) - however it appears that the Fees that CO charges are similar to what UA use to charge - what is different is that some countries (Japan being one) require the use of an outside shipping company - and this is where the huge fee is - so it is not UA but the outside shipper (which in the case of Japan is required by law) - this is a great example of non-journalism, people not reading for comprehension and posting before knowing the facts.
     
  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    So the difference between UA and CO today seems to be that CO requires cargo shipment of animals and UA allows them to be checked as luggage.

    Does the "must use outside shipping company" in Japan apply to CO's cargo animals today? I'd think so as I see no mention that this is a coincidental change of policy by Japan.

    Does this "must use outside shipping company" policy not apply to UA animal "luggage" shipments? It seems it doesn't apply or else UA would have higher rates today.

    So it seems nothing significant changed cost-wise compared to PMCO, but compared to PMUA the ex-Japan rates are going up significantly. Assuming there is a reasonable justification for picking the CO way of shipping animals going forward, it seems the Japan case is an unfortunate corner case. New-UA probably can't easily make an exemption to the shipping process just for ex-Japan animals and let them go as luggage.
     
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  8. gobluetwo
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    gobluetwo Silver Member

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    What, did they just call the reservations line and ask whoever picked up the phone about the changes? If so, shame on them for their lack of due diligence.

    It also seems the previous posters are correct. The primary difference between the legacy UA and CO programs is that CO requires all pets (except in-cabin) are shipped as cargo, whereas UA allows pets up to a certain size to be checked as luggage. There are clearly different requirements for handling checked luggage as opposed to cargo, and the Japanese government-mandated procedure (with associated costs) is an unfortunate side effect.

    And on the topic of exceptions, even UA would only allow pets up to a certain size to be checked as luggage, requiring all larger animals to go as cargo. Also, the USA Today article above states:

    Seems like a net win. It would still be nice, of course, for United to try to do something about blunting the additional cost out of Japan.
     
  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Oh great, now this story has made it into the local TV morning "news" here in the Bay Area, with just as much analysis as one would expect from them.
     
    Flyer1976 and sobore like this.
  10. Minnesota Bruin
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    Minnesota Bruin Silver Member

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    Well, in LA the news mostly consists of the anchors gossiping with each other. Seriously :rolleyes:.

    I thought the USAToday article was relatively balanced. But it would have been nice if they mentioned that Japan does or does not require the 3rd party handling for UA "luggage" pets.
     
  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Really? I think here they are beyond that phase and have started reading Facebook comments from their idiot viewers about the "news" of the day. I guess that's proof how far Silicon Valley is ahead of other parts of the country... we have human Siris reading Twitter and FB posts to us. Sigh!

    This quote is interesting:

    "They're fantastic with their animals," says Gay O'Brien, former president of the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association. "We're all so pleased that United is picking that up."


    Contrast that with this quote from FTer 1KPath on FT (in the corresponding thread over there):

    I volunteer as the lab director at a national animal welfare and recovery organization (including bringing animals from overseas for service men and women)and we have a policy in place to never use airlines that treat animals as cargo...only those that treat them as a special class using cargo space...so we have never used CO for animal transport, even to our facilities in the Houston area! I forwarded this thread to our director in the New York area this morning and she responded that she was able to confirm the UA policy change and that UA will no longer be used by our organization...SIGH!


     

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