Mark Harrop Business Development Manager

May 08
2018

Treatment of pets on airliners is dog gone pawful

As the fallout continues following the tragic death of a French bulldog in the overhead bin of a United Airlines flight, pet insurance technologist Aquarium Software points out it is not the first, and unlikely to be to last casualty, in the trend for taking pets and other so called Emotional Support Animals (ESA) onto aircraft.

In February, one woman flushed pet hamster Pebbles to his death when he was denied access to an aircraft; given an 86 percent surge in animal incidents on aircraft since 2016, these tragic consequences are inevitable.

United, at the centre of this latest incident, carried 76,000 ESAs in 2017, up 77 percent on the year before. British Airways has seen no increase in animals or ESA requests – because it allows none on board.

“Tougher measures are already being introduced in the ways animals can be carried on planes,” said Aquarium Software Director, Mark Colonnese.

“In the drive to give humans what we want, we seem to have lost sight of the rights of animals and their welfare.

Our research shows we see our pets as part of the family, but it is not always in their best interests to do everything we do – like flying.

” A recent YouGov poll commissioned by Aquarium showed 72 percent of Americans say their pet is just as important to the family as human members, a sentiment which is doubtless driving the ESA trend.

While the insurance industry needs to take heed and reach the 74 percent of Americans who have never had pet insurance, Colonnese argues the US should probably take a leaf out of the UK book when it comes to pets and aircraft.

“The lesson here is perhaps that pets do not belong on most commercial airliners, and British Airways possibly has the correct approach.

We can only hope tougher measures will reduce the number of incidents and pet casualties on aircraft. In the meantime, specialist carriers offer a safer, albeit more expensive way of transporting pets overseas,” Mark concluded.