After the recent death of a 10-month old French Bulldog in an overhead cabin on a United Airlines flight, at least two senators agreed on something: pets should not die on airplanes.
The "WOOFF" - Welfare of Our Furry Friends Act - A bill by Louisiana Republican, Senator John Kennedy, and Nevada Democrat, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, was sent to committee within a day of poor Kokito's death.
The bill, GOE18133, I'll grant, is not very long and, well, maybe it could have been a little broader in scope, as it only addresses the safety of pets in overhead compartments, ignoring other pet storage areas of the airplane. In 15 half-lines of type, the bill requires that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) comes up with regulations to forbid that any animal be placed in an overhead compartment of an airplane and that the FAA determine fines for specific violations. The FAA has a full year, if the bill is passed, to comply with the bill.
United Airlines happens to hold the worst record of all commercial airlines of pet deaths in the last three years - 75 percent of pets who died on any flight during those three years died on United Airlines flights. This means there are insufficient conditions for pets in the cargo areas. Cargo conditions are not addressed in the WOOLFF Bill, but hopefully, the FAA will follow up on assuring that conditions on cargo areas are not just suitable, but exceptional for pet passengers.
With an already low image among pet flyers, United has tried to get back in their good graces, but the death of "Kokito" (as well as the dog that flew to Japan instead of Kansas) made United's reputation for pet safety even worse.
United CEO, Oscar Munoz, told Bloomberg News that a new program, Core4, is in progress for employees to train them "to better handle situations based on safety, compassion and efficiency." One measure would be to identify pet cases with brightly colored tags....
In the meantime, United has suspended its "PetSafe" program temporarily. Other airlines may have also cut back, or temporarily stopped, flying pets. When planning a trip, check to make sure your desired airline is accepting pet passengers and what, if any, are the new rules.
Personally, I am going to find a nice pet sitter for my guys.
via The Hill