It has been a costly week for United Airlines, which must be mighty relieved to see the swift end to two back-to-back public relations disasters.
- Bunny breeder paid five-figure compensation
- First report – rabbit dead on arrival
- Second claim – transferred to kennel facility alive, later found dead
- Unconfirmed allegation – placed in freezing temperatures, froze to death
Just last Friday, The True Net reported about the compensation – believed to be several million dollars – to David Dao, who was unceremoniously removed from his seat. Now, United has paid a five-figure sum to the owner of the rabbit which died after flying from London to Chicago on United Airlines.
The airline did the right thing in compensating customers for its irresponsible actions but it would have earned itself some brownie points if had been more transparent in its handling of both incidents.
For the first incident, there was nothing to deny because of the footage that went viral on how Dao was manhandled. But for the dead rabbit, conflicting reports only raised suspicions of a cover-up of what actually happened to Simon.
When the news broke, it was said that Simon had been found dead in the cargo hold upon arrival at the Chicago airport. Then the airline claimed that the rabbit had arrived in apparently good condition and cared for at the airport’s PetSafe kennel facility where it was subsequently found motionless and pronounced dead. This is still the narrative that United Airlines is defending.
However, an airport worker revealed that the pet was placed in frosty temperatures by mistake for up to 16 hours, causing it to freeze to death.
Ten-month-old Simon, a Continental Giant rabbit, already measured three feet long and was bred to overtake its father, Darius, as the world’s biggest rabbit. It was on its way from the UK to its new owner, an unidentified celebrity, in the USA.
Bunny breeder and former Playboy model Annette Edwards told The Sun, “The whole thing stinks of a cover-up. I had been asking United over and over again for his body so that I can have him examined here in Britain but they never got back to me.
“Then finally, late on Friday, they called and told me he had been cremated and there was nothing they could do.
“I suspected he was dropped but to find out he was frozen to death has really knocked me. I had asked for the CCTV but they wouldn’t give me it and now I know why.”
With Edwards bound by the terms of the compensation not to discuss the case and United only too glad to put the case to rest as it did Simon, it is unlikely that the myth of the rabbit’s frosty death will ever be debunked.