Air Transport Trade Association To Certify Airlines Carrying Pets

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In light of the recent death of a 10-week-old puppy on a United Airlines flight, as well as a handful of ‘mistaken’ shipments of dogs to wrong places (or the wrong dogs being transported!), there is a great concern for the safety of our pets as they travel in air.

So the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an international airline trade group, has come out with a program that would certify airlines, cargo companies and other companies that transport live animals to ensure the highest safety standards for them.

Related: Study: United Airline Responsible For Half Of Animal Injury and Death on Planes

The IATA has said that it created their program with the collaboration of industry experts and leaders, and particularly with veterinarians and governing agencies to give companies the opportunity to voluntarily certify with the program. The standards for certification exceed basic government regulations, yet that may just be what consumers are looking for when it comes to arranging travel for their furry family members.

According to IATA spokesman Perry Flint, the group has been working on this certification process for a while, and certainly prior to the latest scandal in which a 10-week-old French Bulldog puppy died after a United flight attendant insisted it remain in the overhead bin. Perry said that their certification program would give consumers an extra sense of security, knowing the airlines that had the certification to transport meet the highest standards for air travel according to experts, and not just government regulations.

Already, airlines are seeing the opportunity to win and keep the trust of their customers, and Air Canada and the city of London have already started to undergo the necessary audits required to grant them certification. Flint said the certification ensures that there has been a certain training of employees, as well as certain procedures, equipment and animal documentation to keep pets safe is in place, and will last for 36 months.

Related: United Airlines Flubs Again; Mistakenly Sends Family Dog To Japan

United Airlines spokesman Charles Hobart said that they are in the process of reviewing their own PetSafe flying program, but will consider other reasonable recommendations that will improve the safety and comfort for any and all animals they fly.

Legislation sponsored by Senators John Kennedy and Catherine Cortez Masto that would prohibit any airline from putting animals in overhead compartments has also been introduced to Congress, in the form of a bill called the Welfare of Our Furry Friends Act.