Los Angeles International Airport supports a program to use dogs to reduce stress among frazzled travelers. United Airlines has expanded a similar program.
For those airline fliers who get so frazzled by holiday travel that they start to bark at seatmates, United Airlines is offering an all-natural way to relieve stress: dogs.
Through a program called United Paws, the Chicago-based carrier is deploying more than 200 dogs to the airline’s seven airport hubs Monday through Wednesday. The specially trained “comfort dogs” will be led around the terminals by handlers so that stressed fliers can pet, scratch and nuzzle the pooches.
In past years, the program has operated at only one or two airports during the holidays. But United plans to expand the effort this year to Los Angeles, Cleveland, Denver, Newark, Washington, Houston and Chicago.
The 13 dogs assigned to Los Angeles International Airport are coming from the nonprofit group Actors & Others for Animals.
Throughout the rest of the year, LAX funds a similar program dubbed Pets Unstressing Passengers. Under the PUP program, dogs and their handlers roam the airport every day to spread the dogs’ healing powers.