Business & Economy

United Airlines brings dogs to LAX to comfort stressed holiday travelers

In this photo taken Tuesday, May 21, 2013, Volunteers with Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) walk past the spider legged Theme Building, at the Los Angeles International Airport. The dogs are intended to take the stress out of travel: the crowds, long lines and terrorism concerns.
In this photo taken Tuesday, May 21, 2013, Volunteers with Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) walk past the spider legged Theme Building, at the Los Angeles International Airport. The dogs are intended to take the stress out of travel: the crowds, long lines and terrorism concerns.
Damian Dovarganes/AP

The holiday season means a busy time for airports and LAX is no exception. An estimated 3.5 million travelers will pass through the Los Angeles International Airport this holiday season, according to Los Angeles World Airports.

To help ease the stress of holiday travel, United Airlines has recruited some furry four-legged friends—professionally trained comfort dogs. On Dec. 21 through Dec. 23 the airline will bring dogs to seven airports throughout the country, including LAX, as part of its United Paws program.

“United Paws is a wonderful program that comes at just the right time for some holiday travelers who may be experiencing a bit of anxiety or stress," said Veterinary Consultant Dr. Walter Woolf in a United Airlines statement. "Research shows that just petting a dog releases oxytocin, the hormone associated with bonding and affection, and also decreases levels of stress, helps us breathe easier and lowers our blood pressure. I've experienced this recently and think this is a wonderful idea for holiday travelers."

The special United Paws dogs will greet customers from 9 a.m. to noon and between 1 and 4 p.m. through Dec 23.

Travelers have taken to social media to share their photos with the comforting canines: