Flying With a Pet? Avoid This Airline

Taj Bates

My heart broke into a million furious pieces the other day upon seeing headlines that a French bulldog puppy had died during a 3+ hour United flight, after a flight attendant belligerently insisted it be kept in the overhead compartment. 

I've never heard of this being an acceptable thing, but even logic would prevail that is not a good idea AT ALL. At what point in aviation history were overhead compartments built to provide enough oxygen for living things? 

As I tried to block out how horrid the puppy's end of life must have been and how heartbroken its owners, including a young daughter, must feel...

I was disappointed and unsurprised to discover that, statistically, United is the worst airline to fly with a pet in tow.

Statistically, United is the worst airline to fly with a pet in tow.

In 2017, it had, by far, the highest rate of animal deaths and injuries amongst major U.S. air carriers:

• Responsible for 75% of the 24 animal deaths reported to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) last year. 

• And culpable for 87% of the 15 pet injuries reported to the DOT.

United transports over 138,000 pets a year. So while 18 deaths and 13 injuries in a given year are small numbers...

Compared to other major carriers — like Delta and American, who only reported 2 deaths, each, last year — those numbers are way too high for comfort, or for pet owners to ignore.