Airlines Strengthen Pet Travel Safety Programs

August 8, 2010 | By Jay Speiden | Category: Travel | 10 comments
Tags: travel, care & safety

Following the tragedy of American Airlines Flight 851, companies are developing enhancements to pet travel services.

Owners who must travel with their pets this summer are more nervous than ever following Tuesday’s disaster on American Airlines. After flying in the cargo hold of Flight 851, seven puppies passed away, raising serious questions about pet safety in the air. And while investigators are still probing into this recent incident, airlines are looking for new ways to strengthen pet travel programs.

The PetSafe program from Continental Airlines is one such service, already acclaimed for its careful emphasis on comfort and safety. For owners using Continental's PetSafe service, a pet's journey actually begins at the PetSafe service desk, a 24-hour live animal registration center that you can call to arrange your pet's reservation. The service desk has a corresponding website that helps owners monitor pets throughout the journey.

After your pet has a reservation, a trained representative will meet you at the airport on travel day to help check your pet in. Once the pet is checked in, PetSafe will move your animal from the terminal to the plane in air-conditioned vans.

"I've used the program before and I was very impressed with how much better it made me feel about checking my dog in as cargo," 34-year-old Los Angeles pet owner, Michelle Saytor said. "It made the process a little easier, so I'd definitely use it again."

Some of the most recent updates to the PetSafe program have been enhancements to the airline's animal acceptance policy. Larger pets are still required to be transported as cargo under the improved PetSafe program, but customers can now track their pets online using Continental's cargo website ( throughout their journey. Pet owners can also now use the airline’s QUICKPAK service, guaranteeing same day, airport-to-airport delivery with features designed to ensure an animal's comfort and safety.

As an added benefit, the revised program allows pet owners to earn OnePass miles through their PetPass program. OnePass members can earn one one OnePass mile for every dollar spent - including tax, fuel and security surcharges - when transporting a pet using the PetSafe service.

If you're planning a trip with your pet, Continental offers the following tips:

Take along a leash and collar for walking your pet prior to departure, and upon arrival.

Include identification tags with your home address and phone number as well as the address and phone number of your destination

Keep your animal as calm as possible prior to the flight. A walk immediately prior to departure is a good idea.

For cats, disposable litter boxes are available at pet supply shops and are easy to take along.

To find out more about the PetSafe service, visit:

To learn more about pet travel safety, visit:

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Comments (9)

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5 years ago

My pets ONLY fly Continental (2 cats and a dog). They have been back and forth from California to New York twice with Continental due to job relocations when there was no time to drive them.

Good Point | Reply ›

daryl b.

daryl b.
5 years ago

i would never put my pets in cargo. i would rather pay a friend to take care of them at home

Good Point | Reply ›

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