Honest Paws, a website that sells CBD oils and treats for dogs, cats, and horses, issued its list of “The 5-Worst Pet-Friendly Airlines.”
Between 2010 and 2020, over 250 animal passengers have died either during or immediately after airline travel. In addition, over 170 sustained injuries as a result of airline transport. What’s more, 20 animals were altogether lost by airlines.
The data was compiled from the Transportation Department. Honest Paw says, “It’s important to note that these numbers only apply to animals considered as pets (“privately-owned companion animals” is the terminology used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture) and do not encompass animals shipped for research or resale, or animals on their way to sanctuaries. As a result, all numbers reported may be significantly higher.”
The report doesn’t directly blame the airlines for the pet deaths. “Animals simply don’t understand the purpose of airline transport, much less why they’ve suddenly been subjected to a dark and frightening space for hours. This may explain why many animal incident reports filed by airlines often cite heart failure and anxiety-related episodes as causes of death once a veterinarian has performed a proper necropsy,” Honest Paws assesses.
For example, In August 2019, a Blue Heeler traveling on American Airlines was unresponsive upon arrival in St. Croix. A veterinarian later concluded that the dog’s passing was related to travel-induced stress.
In November 2019, an Abyssinian cat traveling on American Airlines was found to have died of cardiac arrest. And in February 2020, a Yorkshire Terrier on board a Delta Airlines flight was unresponsive upon arriving at Los Angeles International Airport. The animal was immediately taken to a local emergency veterinary hospital, only to be pronounced dead just 25 minutes later. The incident report related to the pet’s death notes the passing was potentially related to low blood sugar. Some of the symptoms of hypoglycemia are very similar to a panic attack.
According to the report, Delta Air Lines, followed by United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines, had the most incidents.
A report last year by PrivateFly showed the number of pets flying privately had increased by 50%. If you are looking to fly your pet privately, keep in mind that not all private aircraft accept pets. Paid subscribers can compare pet policies for over 60 jet card providers.