Military families living on Guam may not have a way to ship some pets off the island after United Airlines announced a plan to suspend its pet shipping program.
About 7,000 U.S. troops are stationed at the U.S. territory's two military bases.
United Airlines on Tuesday temporarily suspended its PetSafe cargo pet transport program through May 1, airline officials said, after a series of recent pet transport disasters, including animals being delivered to the wrong families and the death of a small dog in a cabin.
Airline officials said they would honor shipping reservations made through Tuesday.
But military families stationed on Guam rely on United to ship large pets on and off the island after Delta canceled its service to Guam early this year.
Air Mobility Command (AMC) will move pets on military aircraft on a space-available basis via a service known as Patriot Express, which uses contracted flights. But because Andersen Air Force Base does not have those flights, pets cannot be flown in and out of Guam by military transport, Andersen officials said in a statement posted to the Andersen Passenger Terminal Facebook page March 20.
"In light of the recent decision by United Airlines to suspend bookings for pets, we have begun to receive many phone calls regarding the shipping of pets on DoD aircraft and would like to help answer any questions regarding the shipping of your pets," the statement said. "Unfortunately, we do not have commercially contracted passenger missions out of Andersen and are unable to ship pets at this time."
That could cause major problems for military families preparing for an upcoming move on or off the island.
"It's not like other [outside the continental United States] stations where multiple airlines fly out, like Japan or Germany," she said. "Because Guam is so small, United is the only airline that flies in and out of the U.S."
This story was updated March 20 to include a statement from Andersen Air Force Base passenger terminal officials.
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.