Simon was certified “fit as a fiddle” just three hours before the takeoff.
Woes of United Airlines seem to continue, as a rabbit breeder has complained that her giant continental rabbit was found dead on arrival at the Chicago O’Hare Airport from London.
According to the breeder, named by Associated Press as Annette Edwards, her 10-month-old, 3-foot-long continental rabbit, which had to undergo a veterinary checkup before getting on board the flight from London’s Heathrow airport, was supposed to be delivered “live” to a celebrity in the US, who doesn’t want the identity to be revealed.
“Simon had his vet check just before getting on the plane,” she said. “He was fit as a fiddle.”
An official statement of United Airlines said they are saddened by the news and they have established contact with the breeder and has offered her assistance.
“The safety and wellbeing of all the animals that travel with us is of the utmost importance to United Airlines and our PetSafe team,” the airline said.
Even though the embattled airlines has declined to reveal further details about the incident, Edwards said that the airline officials are currently looking at the CCTV images from the flight to understand what exactly happened during the course of the journey.
The rabbit belonged to an ancient breed of continental giant.
Related: United Airlines forcibly evicts Asian American doctor from cabin, leaves him bleeding (April 10, 2017)
Simon, the rabbit, hailed from the lineage of Flemish giants, which are known for their intelligence and friendly behavior. They are considered as ideal pets for people looking for cute rabbits.
United Airlines has been facing a slew of PR mishaps since the last few weeks. David Dao, a 69-year-old Asian American doctor who was on his way to meet his patients, was dragged off from a United Airlines flight earlier this month. Video of the airline officials dragging a bleeding Dao had gone viral with people slamming the airline for its arrogance.
According to Edwards, Simon, if lived would have surpassed its father Darius by becoming the world’s biggest rabbit. Darius was 4 feet 4 inches.
According to United States Department of Transportation, 35 animals died during transit across 17 airlines in the United States in 2015 and 14 of those deaths happened on United Airlines flights.