For Immediate Release
May 10, 2023
LAX Public Relations
(Los Angeles) Today, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) celebrated the 10th anniversary of the world-famous Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) program at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with a pup parade and special giveaways for departing passengers.
"The LAX PUPs are wonderful ambassadors for our airport as each year they welcome millions of guests and help ease the travel experience with their calm and friendly demeanor,” said Michael Christensen, Chief of Operations and Maintenance, LAWA. “We are proud of the program’s legacy and influence on similar airport therapy dog programs, and we thank all of the dogs and handlers who have volunteered over the years to make the program a success."
The celebration took place in Terminal 1 in partnership with Southwest Airlines whose representatives provided commemorative giveaways for passengers. Then, in true Hollywood style, more than a dozen dogs paraded down the red carpet with their handlers who stopped for interviews and photos by the pup-arazzi. Afterwards, the dogs greeted guests in the gate area, posing for more pictures and doing what they do best, spreading smiles and joy to LAX passengers.
The LAX PUPs program is a division of LAX Guest Services and began in April 2013 to enhance the passenger experience at the airport. The world-renowned program has served as a model for more than 90 airports which have started similar programs nationally and internationally.
Ten years ago, the program launched with 30 therapy dogs. To date, the program has grown to 80 canine participants and handlers who volunteer their time to meet and greet passengers in every LAX terminal and help relieve some of the stress and anxiety that is often associated with flying.
"There is nothing better than seeing our passengers take a moment during their busy travels to stop and pet one of our therapy dogs,” said Heidi Huebner, LAX PUPs Program Director. “We are grateful to Southwest Airlines for helping us recognize and the benefits of this program, and for helping us celebrate our tenth anniversary in a memorable way."
Dogs of all sizes and breeds are welcome to apply to join the program as long as the animals and handlers meet the program’s requirements, including serving at least one year with a recognized pet therapy organization. All the dogs are privately owned, and the majority come from local shelters or rescue groups.
For more information about the PUPs program, including an overview and volunteer application, visit our website.
LAX, the fifth-busiest airport in the world in 2021 with 48 million passengers, is in the midst of a $15-billion capital improvement program that will touch on all nine passenger terminals and build new facilities, including an Automated People Mover (APM) train, Consolidated Rent-A-Car (ConRAC) facility and the West Gates at Tom Bradley International Terminal.
In 2019, LAX served nearly 88.1 million passengers and offered an average of 700 daily nonstop flights to 113 destinations in the U.S. and 1,200 weekly nonstop flights to 91 markets in 46 countries on 72 commercial airlines.
LAX generated 620,600 jobs in Southern California, with labor income of $37.3 billion and economic output (business revenues) of more than $126.6 billion, according to an economic study based on 2014 operations. This activity added $6.2 billion to local and state revenues and $8.7 billion in federal tax revenues. The study also reported that LAX’s ongoing capital improvement program creates an additional 121,640 annual jobs with labor income of $7.6 billion and economic output of $20.3 billion; $966 million in state and local taxes; and $1.6 billion in federal tax revenues.
LAX is part of a system of two Southern California airports – along with Van Nuys general aviation – that are owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), a proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles that receives no funding from the City's general fund.
LAWA is leading the aviation industry in sustainability practices, with initiatives related to water management, energy (electricity) management, air quality, recycling and natural resources management. In 2019, LAX received Level III ACI Airport Carbon Accreditation from Airports Council International-Europe.
LAWA is also a leader in inclusivity, operating eight programs that provide opportunities for business enterprises including local, small, minority-owned, veteran-owned and disadvantaged firms, and working together with community partners to offer the HireLAX Apprenticeship Readiness Program, which targets local workers to make them ready for rewarding careers in the construction trades, and the Build LAX Academy, designed to prepare small contracting businesses for success when working on projects at LAX.
LAX was named a top-10 U.S. airport by SKYTRAX in 2018, and was honored as the "Most Innovative Airport for Passenger Experience" in 2019 by the American Association of Airport Executives. LAX is the second-most popular airport in the world to appear on Instagram, according to wego.com. Other recent honors have included selection as the No. 9 Best Airport (Wall Street Journal); No. 7 Best On-Time Performance for a Mega-Hub Airport (OAG); one of "The World's Best Airports for Business Travelers" (GlobeHunters); Public-Private Partnership of the Year (P3 Bulletin); Urth Caffe, Best Airport Coffee Concession of the Year (Global FAB Awards); Innovation of the Year, Consolidated Rent-A-Car Facility (ARTBA); Best Project, United Airlines Terminal 7 and 8 Redevelopment Program (Engineering News Record California); North American Public-Private Partnership Deal of the Year (IJ Global); and Innovative Transportation Solution of the Year, Automated People Mover (WTS LA).
For more information about LAX, please visit www.flyLAX.com or follow on Twitter @flyLAXAirport, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LAInternationalAirport, and on YouTube at www.YouTube.com/laxairport1
As a covered entity under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Los Angeles does not discriminate on the basis of disability and, upon request, will provide reasonable accommodation to ensure equal access to its programs, services, and activities. Alternative formats in large print, braille, audio, and other forms (if possible) will be provided upon request.