This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

United Airlines reputation for mishandling dogs is unfair, according to a Washington Post study. In fact, it appears more dogs die on United flights because, perversely, the airline is a better— and often the only — choice for humans’ best friend.

Diving into Department of Transportation data, the newspaper found that though the hard numbers seem to damn the airline — 75% of dog deaths on 2017 occurred on United — much of that is because the airline is the only one that will agree to transport dogs that are prone to respiratory issues.

Among all US carriers, only United will ship snub-nosed dogs (under restrictions and with warnings that certain animals are more prone to travel-related health problems). American and Delta have both forbidden short-nosed dogs for years; other airlines, including JetBlue, Spirit and Southwest, don’t transport animals at all.

That led to a disproportionate number of animal deaths aboard United flights — 40 percent of the animal deaths on United from 2015 to 2017 involved short-nosed breeds such as bulldogs, Shih tzus, Boston terriers and boxers. The No. 1 canine victim of air travel on all airlines in that period, in fact, was the American Bully, a relatively new breed of bulldog-style animal derived from bull terriers and pit bulls.

“We’ve been saying for some time that when you look at those numbers, the overwhelming numbers of those passing away while in our care were due to preexisting conditions or natural causes or something beyond our control,” United spokesman Charles Hobart said in a phone interview. “But we also understand that anytime it happens it’s a tragedy, and we’re working to prevent that from happening again.”

The Washington Post findings don’t necessarily explain some of United’s more cringeworthy animal-related incidents, such as the French bulldog that died while stuffed into an overhead bin, or the German shepherd from Kansas that took an unexpected trip to Japan, but for now United has mostly stopped shipping animals while it conducts a months-long review of the program.

“We’re doing a top-to-bottom review of the service,” Hobart said. “We want to do what’s in the best interest of our customers and the comfort and safety of the animals that we fly.”

Featured image by JodiJacobson/Getty Images

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.