Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Jennifer McKay brought her 221-pound English mastiff to U.S. Forces Japan at Yokota in western Tokyo in 2016. She shipped him over in his 100 pound carrier on United for $3200.
The dog’s name is George Jefferson. And come June 1 it’s time for the Lieutenant Commander, Weezy to her Goerge Jefferson, to return home to the States. United however isn’t currently taking new pet shipment bookings.
And while they’re reviewing the pet program — and they said they expected that review to complete May 1 — they won’t promise when reservations will re-start if at all. Unfortunately United was by far her best option financially.
- The military’s Air Mobility Command won’t take dogs that are over 150 pounds including their carrier. They’d only fly as far as Seattle in any case and she’s headed to Houston.
- Most airlines refuse to transport Engish mastiffs. UPS and Fedex aren’t an option.
- ANA will take the dog, and they fly non-stop to Houston, but they reportedly want ~ $31,000 because the carrier would take up more than one shipping pallet space.
For some time I’ve suggested that United has a problem with its pet shipping operation. They have killed more animals than all other US airlines combined. They seemed to divert pets more often than competitors, too.
Nonetheless most pets made it safely to their destinations. And United suspending new bookings while they evaluate their system has left many people in a bind. For instance United was the only carrier which permitted shipping pets between Guam and the mainland U.S.
In this case United was one of the best options for a direct flight, and historically by far the most economical. So hopefully their review will conclude expeditiously, and with findings that allow them to transport animals more safely and reliably — and in time for Lieutenant Commander McKay and George Jefferson to return to the States.