United Airlines Is Bringing Dogs to Airports to Reduce Stress of Holiday Travel


United Airlines is letting the dogs out this holiday season through a program called United Paws, the Los Angeles Times reported. Over 200 "comfort dogs" will be located in seven airports across the country from 9 a.m. until noon Monday to Wednesday in order to help reduce the stress of holiday traveling. 

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"In ways large and small, all of us at United want to bring a bit of comfort and joy to our customers during this busy season of travel," United's senior vice president and chief marketing officer Tom O'Toole said, according to a press release Monday.

The dogs, which are mostly specially trained golden retrievers often from nonprofit groups, will be led around airport terminals by handlers. Playing with a dog releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin and decreases blood pressure, according to veterinary consultant Walter Woolf.

The idea was inspired by the comfort dogs used by the hospital that United's managing director of marketing Mark Krolick's young son stayed after a surgery, Forbes reported. "My thinking was if it works in the hospital, there's no reason it couldn't work in the airport," he said, according to Forbes.

The seven airports will be getting the comfort dogs are Chicago O'Hare, Cleveland Hopkins, Denver International, Houston International, Los Angeles International, Newark International and Washington Dulles, the press release said. 

The Los Angeles Times reported United Paws operated in one or two airports in the past.