United Airlines is in hot water. In recent days, there has been a flood of online information and anger about the airline’s treatment of a passenger who was forcibly dragged from his seat and removed from the plane, allegedly because United had overbooked the flight.
Since then, people began to look into other practices of the airline giant, and it’s just getting uglier.
Posts on Twitter claim that United has the worst track record among major airlines when transporting pets. To back it up, this assertion refers to 2016 data provided by the Department of Transportation.
According to that information, by sheer number, United has had more “pet incidences” than any other major airline. When we talk about “pet incidences,” we’re talking injuries, deaths, and losses. During 2016, United was responsible for 14 injuries and 9 deaths of pets. Delta, coming in at second place for pet incidences, was responsible for 5 deaths and 5 injuries. That’s quite a gap.
And this is not new news for United – the airline carrier came under fire for how it handles pets in transit before the forcible removal incident. Just this past February, news outlets reported on a Michigan resident who said the airline was responsible for the death of her golden retriever.
Taking a closer look at the numbers, United has transported more pets than Delta. During 2016, United was responsible for handling 109,149 pets, while Delta handled only 81,070. If you break it down to percentages, United’s track record for pet incidences is 0.02%, while Delta’s is 0.01%. Put in this context, the airlines have a fairly similar, fairly low percentage of pet incidences.
Responses from United try to assure passengers that the airline has some of the best facilities for taking care of pets. They go on to say that they aim to keep customers informed and consider pets customers because pets are part of the family. Let’s just hope if United overbooks the pet compartment of a flight, they handle the situation better than they did last week.