Important info for all of us who travel with pets:
As pet deaths continue, airlines pressured to change their ways
"Currently, about 15 major carriers provide monthly incident reports to the DOT, which posts that information online. Under a proposed rule change, any airline with a plane that holds more than 60 seats would have to report pet-related incidents. While current reporting rules focus on pets traveling with their owners, the new rule would include incidents involving cats and dogs shipped by breeders. The DOT also may require airlines to list the total number of animals that were lost, injured or died during flights as well as the number of pets transported each year.
"The number of pets they handle is surprising," says Susan Smith of PetTravel.com. "One incident makes social media and it's just not a good thing — and it's very sad — but you have to sign liabilities when you put your pet in the cargo hold and it's a chance that you take."
Smith says that airlines have been making changes to meet pet owners' needs — and get a bigger slice of the $50 billion consumers spend on pets each year. But accommodating pets requires a lot more than simply carving out space in the cargo hold for furry travelers. More eyes and employees are involved in the process of transporting four-legged passengers. As part of United's PetSafe program, employees must complete training on handling animals, the airline provides tracking information for customers, and transport vans are climate-controlled. But increasingly, airlines are severely restricting or eliminating the service altogether. PetTravel.com notes that KLM recently banned four breeds of snub-nosed dogs in the cargo hold, and Delta Air Lines is restricting all pets from the cargo hold of its B767s.
"I'm not sure if airlines imagined five years ago that [pet travel] would become the business that it has," says Smith. "We are a mobile world. They are moving and want to bring pets. I hope airlines can continue to carry these pets and continue to focus on these safety standards.""
The article includes a good link for a checklist when moving with your pets.