Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pet Lovers: Unite Against United Airlines

So here's another reason United Airlines sucks.

Lots of you have already seen how United Airlines doesn't consider the service of Foreign Service families to matter when it comes to flying our pets with us when we PCS to a new location. Their new rules, from which they have granted the military a waiver "in recognition of the commitment made by members of our military and the family members (including the four-legged ones) who share in their sacrifice" but not the Foreign Service families who serve alongside the military, could make prohibitively expensive to keep our pets with us.

Because our service, even though we too are on government orders, even though we too put our families in harm's way for the needs of the country, doesn't count.

But now, there is one more part to their announcement. Sure, United says, we will give the military a waiver (but not those pesky diplomats, since the 3,000 letters we received is a drop in the bucket compared with all the military), but we are also going to start breed-specific restrictions as well. You can find the list of breeds here. And there is no waiver for that.

United thinks it can get away with this because they don't think we will buy our own tickets. And they don't care even if we do. Because they assume mostly people will try to figure out a way around it. And even if we don't, we are small. There are only about 11,000 of us total in the Foreign Service. And probably the number of military owning a restricted breed is similarly small. So who cares if we don't get to take our pets with us.

But we have families. We have friends. And we need to let them all know how United disrespects those who have devoted their lives to the service of the country, often at great personal cost. And get them to tell their friends, because I know the pet lovers in this country outnumber those who don't.

Ask them to write to United. And ask them to boycott United.

I will not be flying United again if I can help it. I will buy my own ticket if need be because the cost will be lower than letting the government pay full refundable fair for me and me just pay for my pets to be shipped back separately.

Please stand with those who serve and don't fly United.


Becky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carla Runs The World said...

What I don't get is this... In order for airlines to earn the preference for a certain leg, it's based on fares, but why, oh why, doesn't the government impose some minimum rules for them to even bid on those legs? Rules such as "for official travel orders of change of station, allow minimum of 2 bags of 70lbs each" (another exception they make for the military only, even those on trips!), and "must allow pets in cabin (based on weight restriction) and as excess baggage" -- why is our government NOT imposing things like that before making an airline a preferred one on a route? If they were to lose a whole government business, they for sure would concede and make these exceptions for government purchased tickets!!!

Another thing that pisses me off? Why can't I cost construct if State wants me to put in an airline that doesn't ship my pet? If I'm paying the difference, I should be allowed to take whatever I want. I really hope Delta doesn't change their pet rules.

(I just noticed the commenter above mentioned something similar -- except much more eloquently than what I wrote. But shouldn't these things be a minimum for a government purchased ticket?)

Digger said...

You would certainly think the government could do that, except that it is Congress' rule and they have demonstrated time and again their disdain for the Foreign Service. I would think the airlines would make those exceptions for all government fares out of fear of losing the business since the govt tickets are refundable and therefore MUCH more expensive. But clearly, they aren't afraid of it.

I do understand that we now, because of the Open Skies rule, can fly a non-American carrier if it is cheaper. But I know folks who have been told by their travel techs that they wouldn't do it because it is "too complicated."