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Pet travel policy unchanged for Patriot Express, other carriers revise policy

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Military members on permanent change of station orders from overseas locations don't need to worry about recent news reports that fees to transport their pets are being increased to costly levels.

There was concern about military members traveling on regular commercial flights because United Airlines changed its policy in conjunction with its merger with Continental Airlines.

The new policy required passengers to use a third-party carrier, which involved large expenses. But after reconsidering the policy, United Airlines established a special exception for military members on permanent change of station orders that eliminates the third-party carrier fees charged to passengers for moving their animals.

"This is fantastic news for our military families," said Col. William Zeck, the AMC chief of air transportation. "I applaud United Airlines for their actions."

A national news source quoted United Airlines spokesperson Mary Ryan as saying, "We more fully understand the impact of our implementation of our PetSafe product as a result of the constructive feedback we received. We've evaluated the policies and developed a special process for military families travelling on PCS orders only, which allows them to transport their four-legged family members without the need for a third-party freight forwarder."

Before United announced the special exception, officials said social media sites were buzzing with concern about the added expense and the apprehension many pets would be abandoned at overseas locations to avoid the fees.

"Pet-travel rates on Patriot Express contract airline flights were not affected by United Airlines decisions, and did not vary from the previously negotiated rates," said Cynthia Bauer, a U.S. Transportation Command spokesperson.

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