Senator to Introduce Bill Prohibiting Airlines From Storing Pets in Overhead Bins

Mar 15, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The fallout continues for United in the sad tale of the loss of a family pet Monday night. In an attempt to ensure that no other family loses their pet in that manner, Senator John Kennedy announced Wednesday evening that he’s planning to introduce a bill on Thursday prohibiting “airlines from putting animals in overhead bins.”

The Louisiana senator notes that “violators will face significant fines.”

It’s important to note that United policy has never called for storing pets in overhead bins. In this situation, United claims that its “flight attendant did not hear or understand” the passenger when she said that the bag contained a pet “and did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin.”

Similarly, no other airline policy we’ve found ever calls for a pet to be placed in the overhead bin. That said, having the consequence of a “significant” fine would ensure that airlines remain especially diligent about avoiding this situation from occurring again.

However, a more productive way to enhance safety for traveling pets would be an inquiry into United’s general pet handling failures. Department of Transportation statistics reveal that United has both the highest rate and highest number of incidents involving loss, injury or death of animals during air transportation.

In 2017, United had 31 total incidents — 18 deaths and 13 injuries — for an rate of 2.24 incidents per every 10,000 animals transported. The total number of incidents for all other airlines combined was just nine: six deaths, two injuries and one loss.

American Airlines had the second-highest rate of incidents with 0.87 loss, injury or death per 10,000 animals transported — with two deaths, one injury. Delta (0.52 rate) and Alaska (0.26 rate) were the only other airlines that had incidents during the year. According to DOT statistics, 506,994 pets were transported by airlines in 2017. More than 27% of these pets were transported by United.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.