One-third of animal deaths on US airlines in the last five years have occurred while the animals are in the care of United Airlines. That is 53 animals who have died while in the care of the airline, and apparently, that does not include any that refused to give up their seats.
These figures came to light last month after the demise of Simon, a 3-foot long Continental Giant Rabbit who was being transported from the UK to Chicago O’Hare Airport (insert your own rabbit / O’Hare jokes here).
Simon was traveling to his new owner and had been examined by a vet just three hours before his journey began. He was given a clean bill of health, and there is, as yet, no explanation for his death.
“The safety and well-being of all the animals that travel with us is of the utmost importance to United Airlines and our PetSafe team.”
United said in a statement about Simons death:
“We have been in contact with our customer and have offered assistance. We are reviewing this matter.”
There were four animal deaths on United flights in Jan 2017, Hope, a 9-year-old cat, listed as suspected heart failure, Rocco, a dog, died from a cardiac abnormality due to congenital heart disease and two geckos died on a flight but no medical exam was performed.
In 2016 United transported, on domestic and international flights, 109,149 animals with deaths or injuries in 2.11 out of every 10,000 animals. Hawaiian Airlines carried 7,518 animals in the same period but had 3.99 deaths or injuries for every 10,000 animals so statistically, United does not have the worst record, but statistics aren’t much of a comfort when your pet is dead.
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