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Continental Wins at Pet Deaths
No one has ever really suspected the experience of being shipped in an airplane's cargo bin to be enjoyable, but until recently, airlines were not required to report the deaths and injuries of pets they handled. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has analyzed the last 16 months of animal incident reports, finding 45 total deaths, 23 injuries, and 11 losses. On the interweb, they call the death of a pet "crossing over the rainbow bridge," which is humorous. It's probably not that fun.
The number of casualties is a tiny percentage of the total number of animals flown in cargo, but 45 too many for the owners of animals like Ginxie (a cat who escaped from United's grip and was hit by a tractor on the tarmac) and Baxter (a Boston terrier who had a heart attack on an American Airlines plane). Continental reported the most deaths (11), and American came in second with 7, while AirTrain refuses to fly pets in cargo altogether.
Veterinarian Melinda Merck recommends either taking your pet in the cabin with you, or simply leaving him or her at home. Most travelers would rather sit next to a German shepherd than a screaming baby, but legislation requiring kennels for children is unlikely to pass.
[Photo: Back in the Pack]
· Pets and air travel can be a lethal combination [Seattle P-I]