Giant Rabbit Hops Across the Pond on United Airlines for First and Last Time

By Janice Barlow

Well, Easter may be over but a giant rabbit is making headlines today, and not in a good way. The pall that hangs over United Airlines remains as a giant rabbit died during a flight across the Atlantic from London to Chicago. The rabbit was only ten months old, but was already three feet long. His name was  Simon. He had recently been checked out at his veterinarian, who pronounced him in good health to make the trip.

Simon had been placed in the cargo hold where pets are kept on the United jet. He was alive and seemingly well when the plane landed in Chicago after the 6 hour flight. He was placed in a pet storage area called PetSafe on the morning of April 20th at O’Hare airport and appeared to be sleeping. But when he was checked again at around 11 a.m., he was not moving at all.  A PetSafe employee opened his crate and checked carefully, determining that Simon was no longer alive. PetSafe is a separate entity but contracted by United for pet transport and care. United Airlines issued a statement that they were “saddened by the news” and,

“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. We have been in contact with our customer and have offered assistance. We are reviewing this matter.”

United also mentioned that rabbits in particular get stressed out during flights. The sheer size of the Simon was likely a reason that he was not allowed in the passenger cabin. Here is a photo of a similar rabbit for size comparison.

The rabbit’s breeder in England, Annette Edwards, declined to have an autopsy performed to determine the cause of death of the giant rabbit. Simon was on his way to his new owner, who is an unnamed celebrity. It took six days for the incident to be made public.

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