United Airlines found out the hard way that you don't mess with our brave fighting men and women -- especially when it comes to their pets!

Here's how this one played out: At certain duty stations overseas where their families can go with them, service members are also allowed to bring the family pet. But you have to pay big bucks to fly that pet over to where you're stationed. The price tends to be as much as a couple hundred bucks. In fact, many times the pet fare will be higher than the passenger fare!

So United came up with a hair-brained scheme to punish service members stationed abroad who had no other choice than their airline when it came time to fly back from overseas duty stations with pets in tow.

They retroactively enforced a rule on those who already traveled overseas and brought pets. Under the new rule, when those service members wanted to return stateside, they would have to pay thousands to fly their beloved pet back home. That put our brave fighting men and women in a position of having to abandon animals overseas because they couldn't scrape up the thousands to fly them back home.

The whole episode created an uproar in the military community that grew and grew on the Internet. Finally, United caved and will now make an exception for military personnel and their pets. The marketplace made them behave.

On the question of transporting pets by air, animals can die in transport. It's particularly dangerous to fly a pet if they have to go underneath in cargo. Unless it is mandatory that you fly your pet, that's a situation where you're much better off traveling by road if at all possible.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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