Why I Wouldn’t Trust United Airlines With My Dog

United Airlines hasn’t just come under criticism for how it treats its human passengers, it’s received recent attention for how it (mis)treats animals as well. The biggest story was that the airline reportedly locked the World’s Biggest Rabbit in a freezer for hours and them cremated it without permission.

In February a dog died while traveling United when an agent’s mistake meant that the dog traveled 20 hours longer than expected.

Then two months ago they mixed up two dogs and sent each one to the wrong city.

Friday night United lost Grammy-nominated hip hop artist Schoolboy Q’s dog, sending it to the wrong city. This for a rapper who says “Only thing I got is my girl and my dogs.”

[D]uring a layover in Denver, the airline mistakenly switched his dog with another.
The rapper arrived in Burbank to find someone else’s pet. His dog had actually flown to Chicago.

“My little dog been moving around since the A.M., prolly has pee and number 2 all in his cage smh,” the rapper said in a text message to CNN.

United is refunding the shipping fees and says the dog is fine. The reputation of United’s ‘PetSafe’ program? Not so much.

My own dog was born in Oklahoma and flew United to DC back in 2002. He survived the journey — and remarkably the last 15 years in my care.

Here’s my little guy is using an airport pet relief station during a connection.

I wouldn’t trust him to United again.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. We at Delta Air Lines sincerely appreciate your undeniable, inimitable hatred for United Airlines. Your genocidal dislike of United rivals only that of United for its customers! Because of your blog posts, business is up for us at United hubs. As a measure of thanks, we are thrilled to provide you with 100,000 Skymiles, enough to redeem for a free flight in Basic Economy from Detroit to Peoria!

  2. Only one simple, but very direct and correct way to end this BS–allow “cabotage” so foreign airlines can fly domestically within the U.S. A big duh–do we pick Lufthansa’s proven intra-European Business Class, or United/Delta/American whose F Class cannot even come close to Lufthansa?

    For a nation proudly founded upon the concepts of pure marketplace competition, what happened to us? The legacy no longer compete, but are only energized to screw over any other carrier seeking to make inroads. Did we not learn when we allowed our railroads to merge, only to throw-off their passenger services upon the federal government?

    Does anybody even remember how every evening between New York-Chicago how the New York Central’s All-Pullman “”Twentieth Century Limited” and “Commodore Vanderbilt,” and All-Coach “Pacemaker” competed head-on with the Pennsylvania’s equally All-Pullman “Broadway Limited” and “The General,” as well as the All-Coach “Trail Blazer”? The private railroads defined marketing and competition, until the federal government intervened after WWII in the marketplace to pick winners and subsidize their infrastructure, at the expense of the railroads. Today, instead of 15 hour rail speedsters between New York-Chicago, we must contend with but one train on a pathetic 21 hour schedule. Does anybody even realize their was a popular All-Pullman train overnight between San Francisco-Los Angeles, “The Lark;” and a parallel All-Coach train, “The Starlight”? Or, how the New Haven operated the All-Parlkor (F Class) “Merchants Limited” between New York-Boston; making more money on its bar cars than the ticket revenues?

    The point being, their is absolutely no substitute for pure competition, as long as the government does not intervene. How the remaining legacy carriers cavort and spit in our faces today is the end result of destroying their competition environment. What better evidence than America West buying USAir, only to incorporate its stagnant culture of “U R Still Allegheny in Reality;” to see this banal leadership takeover American is the end result of a failed economic model.

    Just remember the political cartoon, Pogo: “We have met the enemy and it is us!”

  3. @Rail Provocateur
    Stop dreaming. Government is made up by politician. Politician need sponsors to be elected by the people.

    Why would those elected (by the famous US democracy) by the people/citizens would rather making a policy benefitting the sponsors than the constituents? Because its easier to manipulate the minds of the people than the sponsors.

    In other (shorter) words, american people are stupid, thus easy to manipulate.

  4. Gary, what’s your Oklahoma connection? I find very few people in this area that participate in this hobby, given our horrible flight availability. Just curious, thanks.

  5. Your dog is adorable but I am biased because he looks just like my little guy! Personally there is no airline I would ever trust with my dog. I am glad he is small enough to fly in the cabin with me.

  6. Never, EVER, trust any airline to transport a pet. If you can’t take your pet in the cabin with you, DRIVE to your destination or leave your pet in boarding. It’s not worth gambling with the poor animal’s life to trust airline cargo handling, no matter what the guarantee. I say this as a retiree from one of the major airlines.

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