An Awful Lot of Pets Are Dying on United Airlines Flights

Photo: AP

Yesterday I wrote about how a dog died in a really sad, disgusting way on a United Airlines flight this Monday: by being forced to spend a 3-hour trip in an overhead bin, deprived of water and fresh air.

On Tuesday, HuffPost reported that, lately, this has by no means been a unique occurrence. Data from the Department of Transportation shows that in 2017 24 pets died while flying with United States carriers, and 18 of those incidents took place on United flights. HuffPost noted that these figures only include pets that were signed up wth the airline’s PetSafe cargo program (hence would not pertain, for example, to Monday’s incident, where the dog’s owner was allegedly unexpectedly ordered to place her pet overhead after she had boarded).


The Transportation Department’s data also showed that 13 pets sustained injuries on United flights last year. The total number of pets that registered with the PetSafe program in 2014 was 138,178, the most of any airline that year. Still, HuffPost reported, the rate of death for pets flying United was more than twice that of the airline with the second highest pet death frequency (American Airlines).

The airline with the best track record last year as far as not killing pets goes? That would be Alaska Airlines, with a mere two pet deaths, plus one missing pet.

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Hannah Gold

contributing writer, nights