Could It Cost Up to $4,000 for Military Personnel to Ship Their Pets?Published February 17, 2012
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According to a report from Stripes.com, the cost of shipping a pet during a service member's permanent change of station could rise to up to $4,000 from what was once a flat fee of roughly $280 per pet.
The move comes as the result of a merger between Continental Airlines and United Airlines, which are both federally contracted carriers. As part of their merger, United is going to drop its flat rate for pets being shipped as excess baggage and require all pets to be shipped as cargo. For those serving in the Pacific, this could mean that the cost of shipping a pet back to the United States could range anywhere between $1,400 and $4,000, depending on the animal's size. It is a cost that is not picked up by the military, as the military already gets the initial cost of the flight at a reduced cost through its contract.
The new policy change United is initiating does not apply to what are known as Patriot Express flights, or flights chartered as official missions, which already have pet spaces set aside. The issue, however, is that one must be on official orders only to use a Patriot Express flight. Additionally, Patriot Express flights are often far less direct than commercial flights, making them less convenient for travelers.
As a result of the policy change, some fear that many military pets could be left behind, as the military personnel will not be able to afford the outrageous price that United will charge to ship their beloved pets on commercial flights.
What do you think about United's policy that could hurt pet-loving military families? Share your thoughts in a comment.