United Airlines Investigating After Giant Rabbit Dies During Flight

Image courtesy of kevindean

If you have a soft spot in your heart for animals, you might want to pass on this one: United Airlines is investigating the death of a giant rabbit that had been stowed in the cargo hold of a flight from London to Chicago.

The three-foot rabbit named Simon was on his way to a new “celebrity” owner, reports The Sun, and was found deceased in the cargo hold when the flight landed at O’Hare International Airport.

“Simon had a vet’s check-up three hours before the flight and was fit as a fiddle,” Simon’s breeder told the paper of the 10-month-old bunny, adding that she’s sent rabbits “all over the world” without something like this happening before.

She says Simon was expected to grow even larger than his father, a four-foot giant named Darius, and snare the title of world’s largest rabbit.

United, which has suffered weeks of bad publicity after a passenger was forcibly removed from his seat and dragged off a plane, says it’s “saddened” by the 10-month-old rabbit’s death, and is now investigating.

“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. “We have been in contact with our customer and have offered assistance. We are reviewing this matter.”

Unfortunately, animal deaths on planes are not uncommon: According to U.S. Department of Transportation [PDF] data from 2015 — the most recent numbers available — domestic airlines reported 35 animal deaths, with 14 of those deaths happening on United flights.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.