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Some Airlines Extend Ban on Pet Travel

August 27, 2000

Pet owners just getting used to new summertime bans on airline travel for their animals had better check the rules year-round. United Airlines has announced it will extend its pet restrictions beyond the summer, and at least one other airline may join it.

In United's case, it earlier said it would ban pets traveling as checked baggage, but not as cargo, June 15 to Sept. 7. The difference is that checked-baggage animals arrive with the passenger at the airport and are processed by baggage checkers; animals traveling as cargo are packed and shipped by commercial shippers or breeders.

Earlier this month, United announced it would extend the restrictions beyond Sept. 7. Last week, a spokeswoman said they will be in effect "until we announce otherwise." Smaller pets that fit under passengers' seats will continue to be accepted, with various restrictions. The airline says that customers unable to travel because of the embargo can cancel their tickets without penalty.

At US Airways, a spokesman said summertime pet restrictions will be "in effect until further notice." US Airways has the opposite policy of United, he indicated, with pets banned as cargo but not as checked baggage.

Earlier this year, the Air Transport Assn., an airline industry trade group, warned that some airlines may stop accepting animals rather than conform to new federal rules requiring them to report statistics on killed or injured pets.

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