United Customers Receive Conflicting Pet Shipment Information

Damage Controlman Fireman Anna Cornish, assigned to the submarine tender USS Frank Cable, plays with a dog at Guam Animals in Need shelter during a community relations event in Yigo on Feb. 9, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Heather C. Wamsley)
Damage Controlman Fireman Anna Cornish, assigned to the submarine tender USS Frank Cable, plays with a dog at Guam Animals in Need shelter during a community relations event in Yigo on Feb. 9, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Heather C. Wamsley)

Military customers who hope to use United Airlines to ship restricted pets home from overseas duty stations may be getting conflicting information from company representatives because the airline is still developing the rule, a United official told Military.com on Thursday.

A United spokesman announced May 29 that the airline will make an exception to its new size and breed restrictions on pet shipping for military members whose animals it previously transported to overseas duty stations.

"The guiding principle -- I don't even want to call it a policy -- is an approach we're taking that if we flew your pet there, we'll fly it back," said Charles Hobart, a United spokesman.

But customers have since reported to Military.com that United representatives, including officials with its PetSafe pet shipment program, are not familiar with the exception.

Hobart on Thursday confirmed in an email that the airline is "working to find options so we can get those 'restricted' animals back home. This is why we don't prefer to share a lot of details with media, because it's very complex at the moment and it results in more questions from concerned customers."

United's new restrictions, which ban animal crates over 30 inches tall and adds 21 breeds of dogs and four breeds of cats to its no-fly list, take effect June 17.

"We hope to clarify things when we get closer to the June date," Hobart said in the email.

Although troops stationed in most overseas areas have access to other airlines, United is currently the only one that ships pets to and from Guam.

To access the exemption, military members should fill out this form and email it to petsafe@united.com, Hobart said May 29.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com.

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