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United Airlines suspends pet cargo flights

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(CNN Money) — United Airlines said it’s suspending a program that transports pets in cargo holds.

It will stop accepting new reservations for its PetSafe program, though it will honor any reservations made through March 20, the airline said.

Passengers can still carry small pets with them in carry-on luggage.

The suspension comes as United reviews its pet transport policies, a process that should be completed by May 1, United said.

United has taken much criticism for its pet policies following reports that the airline had the highest rate of pet deaths of any US airline for the past three years. Data from the US Department of Transportation show that three times as many animals died on United flights last year than on all the other US carriers put together.

United has experienced some major pet-traveling disasters recently, as well.

Last week, a small dog died after it was put in the overhead bin on a United flight. Then the carrier mistakenly shipped a Kansas-bound dog to Japan, and in a separate incident, it had to divert another flight to Akron, Ohio, after the airline realized a pet had been loaded onto the flight in error.

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