Next time you’re taking a plane trip, you might want to consider leaving your pets at home … especially if you’re flying United.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s February 2017 Air Data Consumer Report, United had the most animal deaths of all United States airlines in 2016 — for the second year in a row, might we add.
It’s been a terrible, no good, very bad couple of months for United — from leggings-gate to the infamously violent removal of a passenger from an overbooked flight.
And just this week a giant rabbit unexpectedly died on one of United’s transatlantic flights, so add that to next year’s report.
The report stated that United had a total of nine on-flight animal deaths and 14 injuries in 2016 alone. In terms of transporting animals, this equates to 2.1 incidents per 10,000 transports.
The top animal deaths by airline for 2016 are as follows:
United Airlines: 9 deaths, 14 injuries
Delta Airlines: 5 deaths, 5 injuries
American Airlines: 4 deaths, 1 injury
Hawaiian Airlines: 3 deaths, 0 injuries
Alaska Airlines: 2 deaths, 1 injury
Skywest Airlines: 2 deaths, 1 injury
ExpressJet: 1 death, 0 injuries
In 2015, United Airlines once again had the highest number of animal deaths with 14 animals dying during transportation and eight sustaining injuries. Delta’s 11 animal deaths and five injuries were close behind in 2015, but thankfully all other U.S. airlines had animal deaths in single digits.
Though on occasion these animal deaths were the result of natural causes, those surrounding Simon’s death — the three-foot-long, 10-month-old rabbit that recently died in the cargo section of a United Boeing 767 — are currently unknown.
"Something very strange has happened and I want to know what. I’ve sent rabbits all around the world and nothing like this has happened before,” Simon’s breeder, Annette Edwards told The Sun.
Edwards also told The Associated Press that Simon was checked by a vet shortly before traveling and "he was fit as a fiddle."
The Humane Society recommends owners strongly consider the risks before taking pets on airplanes and seek out alternatives to flying whenever possible. "We strongly discourage having your pet travel by air in the cargo hold of a plane. It can be dangerous and stressful," the organization states on its website.