Breaking Travel News

Continental Evacuates Dogs

Continental Airlines on Sunday, Sept. 11, is operating a Louisiana evacuation flight carrying
up to 100 passengers—who are all dogs. The dogs are all homeless as a
result of Hurricane Katrina. The charter flight is being arranged by out of Austin,
Texas, and funded by Madeleine and Boone Pickens.Since Katrina hit, Continental has been very active in the relief process,
operating relief flights into New Orleans and setting up City Ticket Offices
at the Astrodome, Reliant Center and George R. Brown Convention Center in
Houston to provide transportation to FEMA-registered evacuees in those
  The Boeing 737-800 aircraft carrying the canines will depart from Baton
Rouge, Louisiana.  The airplane will stop first in San Diego, where 50
pregnant dogs will “disem-bark.”  The flight continues to San Francisco, where
the remaining dogs are going to foster homes.
  The dogs going to San Diego are being received by volunteers from the
Helen Woodward Animal Center.  The center plans to place them with loving
families waiting to adopt them.
  The dogs going to San Francisco are being received by volunteers from
several chapters of the San Francisco Bay Area Humane Society.  These dogs
also are being placed in adoptive homes.
  “Continental’s PetSafe program is known for the attention we give to pets
as they travel,” said Lisa Schoppa, PetSafe program manager, who will
accompany the pets on the flight.  “Each summer, Continental carries more pets
than all other U.S. network carriers combined. Since we specialize in pet
service, we were well equipped to meet the needs for this charter. Our flight
attendants will treat these canine passengers with the loving care they
  The dogs are traveling in kennels in both the belly of the aircraft and in
the passenger compartment.  The dogs come from shelters in the hurricane zone,
which are unable to continue caring for them.
  Continental is able to provide an aircraft for the charter because the
human airlift from New Orleans has diminished as the population of the city
has dwindled.
  The following is a brief synopsis of some of Continental’s relief efforts
since the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina:

  * Continental has established City Ticket Offices at the three largest
shelters in Houston—the Astrodome, Reliant Center and the George R.
Brown Convention Center—and is providing any registered evacuee and their pets transportation to other locations in the U.S. So far hundreds
have taken Continental up on this offer.  No other airline has taken on
such an effort. These offices are open seven days a week for up to 12
hours each day

  * Continental was one of the last two carriers to leave New Orleans before
the hurricane hit and flew in an extra 20 personnel from Houston to New
Orleans on that Sunday to help evacuate as many people as possible

  * Continental flew a group of fire fighters from New York to New Orleans, then sent another flight from New York with their supplies

  * Over a thousand Houston Continental employees have volunteered to staff
shelters and many more are donating needed supplies, hosting families,


  * Continental has implemented a company-wide suitcase drive to provide
suitcases to evacuees in shelters. To date, over 600 suitcases have been

  * The airline has flown 10 relief flights out of New Orleans and stands
ready to assist more as requested by FEMA

  * Continental is working directly with FEMA and other relief agencies to
provide the transportation of relief supplies and personnel

  * For those passengers paying for flights out of Alabama, Louisiana and
Mississippi, Continental has waived all advance-purchase requirements

  * Continental employees and other donors have given over $45,000 in
emergency cash assistance via its WE CARE employee assistance fund to
help New Orleans co-workers

* Continental has donated tickets to rescue and humanitarian groups as far
away as France and Japan

  * Continental’s Houston flight kitchen donated 4,000 pounds of food to the
relief effort

  * Due to increased travel to and from cities near New Orleans, Continental
has upgraded to larger aircraft on flights to Baton Rouge, and is adding temporary service from New York/Newark to Baton Rouge

  * Continental donated 1,000,000 OnePass frequent flyer miles to both the
American Red Cross and AmeriCares