There’s no need for your pampered pet traveling through the Windy City via United Airlines‘ PetSafe service to arrive smelly and scraggly. United has opened a new, on-airport kennel facility at its Chicago O’Hare International Airport hub where distinguished dogs, fine felines and other animals can be groomed and bathed by The Spot Experience.
The kennel, which is located inside United’s new cargo facility, has 28 individual enclosures and allows different species of animals traveling with the airline to be held comfortably in separate, ventilated and temperature-controlled areas. The O’Hare facility also has a fleet of specially built, temperature-controlled PetSafe vans that the airline uses exclusively to transport pets to and from its Chicago flights as quickly and comfortably as possible.
United’s Chicago kennel is the third facility of its type that supports the airline’s PetSafe service. United operates similar pet kennel facilities at its Houston and Newark hubs. The Spot Experience – the same service partner that provides care at United’s Newark kennel – is operating the airline’s Chicago facility. Its staff members ensure all the enclosures are kept clean and sanitized, walk and exercise pets and provide grooming and bathing on request.
“We have an industry-leading pet travel program and this new kennel facility allows us to further extend our best-in-class service to the animals traveling through Chicago,” said United’s Vice President of Cargo Robbie Anderson. “The comfort and care provided by our dedicated PetSafe team offers our customers peace of mind whether they are shipping their pets or traveling with them.”
New Yorkers are likely familiar with The Spot Experience because it has four shops in Manhattan and another in Putnam County. As much as The Jet Set Pets applauds United for its new amenities and services, we, along with the The Humane Society of the United States, are against transporting animals in the baggage or cargo compartments unless absolutely necessary. We understand most times there is no other way when your pet is too large to go in the cabin.
Pet deaths on planes in 2013
On a separate but related note, we were delighted to see that there were no mishaps with animals in March 2013, according to the latest Department of Transportation report released this month. That just might be a first but we will check and let you know. DOT requires airlines to submit a report for any month in which it experienced a loss, injury or death of a pet during air transportation. DOT publishes these reports monthly, which pet parents should remember to view when deciding which carrier to use to transport its precious pets. The reports can be found here.
So far this year, United, Delta Air Lines and Hawaiian Airlines have each reported one animal death; Alaska Airlines reported two deaths, and Delta and Horizon Air have each experienced one injury. Again, this is based on the first three months of 2013.
While the numbers may be decreasing, even one death to a family member is too many. Many times the airline employees are not at fault when deaths to pets traveling occur. The problem is treating our pets like baggage, which is unfair to the animals. In the case of the dog that died on United in February, a seven-year-old pit bull traveling from San Francisco to Honolulu, a necropsy was performed and the cause of death was diagnosed as a combination of underlying cardiovascular disease and acute interstitial pneumonia.
What are your thoughts about pets traveling as baggage? Do you do it and hope for the best? Base your travel plans around those that can be reached by driving? Fly private so your pet can accompany you in the cabin? Please share your comments with The Jet Set Pets Community in the comment box below.