After a tough month on the public relations front, United Airlines is now dealing with the alleged death of a giant rabbit in the cargo hold of one of its trans-Atlantic flights. The rabbit in question is a massive 3-foot-long bunny named Simon, who was the son of the world's largest rabbit and apparently on track to become the world's next biggest bunny.
Simon was traveling from London's Heathrow Airport to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to meet his new celebrity owner. Breeder Annette Edwards told The Associated Press that Simon had been checked out by a vet just three hours before he boarded the plane. "He was fit as a fiddle," she said.
Edwards claimed she's "sent rabbits all around the world and nothing like this has happened before." "Something very strange has happened and I want to know what," she said.
United said that it was "saddened" by the news and had offered assistance to Edwards. The incident is under investigation. "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," the airline said.
BBC noted that animal deaths on planes are "rare but not unheard of," with U.S. airlines reporting 35 animal deaths in 2015. Fourteen of those deaths were reportedly on United flights, which appears to have the highest animal death rate of any other U.S. airline.
This is just the latest PR mess the airline has had to sort out. In March, the airline caught flak for refusing to allow two girls wearing leggings to board the plane, citing its dress code for employees and their guests. Earlier this month, international outrage erupted after a paying customer was forcibly removed from an overbooked flight.