3 Links I Love: Why Dogs Die on United, Hawaiian and Emirates Interviews

Emirates, Hawaiian, Links I Love

This week’s featured link:
More dogs die on United than on any other airline. Here’s why.The Washington Post
I never wrote about United’s dog problems, but you most certainly heard about them elsewhere. You’ve probably heard that more dogs die on United than on other airlines, but here’s the actual reason why. The thing is, if you’re United, you may be doing a service to some people who have no other choice, but the second one dog dies, you will be vilified. Anything United does wrong is under a microscope. I’d probably ban these dogs and just make an exception for military.

Two for the road:
Hawaiian ready to compete with Southwest in Hawaii, CEO says in Q&AAssociated Press
How about an interview with Hawaiian’s new CEO Peter Ingram? He’s been at Hawaiian for many years, but he only took over the top spot in the last couple months. In case you’re wondering, Peter knows his stuff.

A Chat With Emirates Senior VP North America + A Look at Their New Business Class Product!Airline Reporter
And now for something completely different. A nice little interview and look at the new (better, but still sub-par) Emirates business class on its 777s.

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13 comments on “3 Links I Love: Why Dogs Die on United, Hawaiian and Emirates Interviews

  1. “You’ve probably heard that more dogs die on United than on other airlines, but here’s the actual reason why.”

    That’s not what the data says, it would be more accurate to say “here’s a contributing factor why.”

    Even removing the 40% of dog deaths that are from higher risk breeds United still has substantially more dog deaths than other airlines [eg 25 vs 9 at American]. And this doesn’t speak to the issue of lost and misdirected animals.

    United DOES do a service in carrying animals. They do so less expensively in many cases than their competitors. And they do so on routes where there aren’t competitor options. But they also do seem to have a legitimate problem, that’s not fully or perhaps even largely explained by a willingness to take animals other airlines won’t. In other words we need to not overclaim about this data means.

    1. Gary, your comment doesn’t take into account the higher number of animals that UA carries.

      One confusing thing about the WSJ article is that it mixes 2015-2017 and just 2017 data.

      The accepted way to communicate statistics like this is in the airline industry is the incident per 10,000. That is mentioned in the WSJ article, and I recalculated what UA’s animal death rate per 10,000 animals carried would be for only the breeds that other airlines would carry. That comes out to 0.60 deaths per 10,000 animals carried. Which would make the all important comparison chart look like:

      AA: 0.87
      UA: 0.60
      DL: 0.52
      AS: 0.26

      That makes UA look pretty reasonable.

      (The one assumption I made is that UA carried the same number of pets in 2015 and 2016 as they did in 2017. Also the non-UA numbers are for only 2017, whereas the UA number is for 2015-2017.)

      Yes this still doesn’t speak to the number of lost and misdirected animals, but UA carried 32% of the animals carried as cargo. Here are the percents of animals carried by each airline in 2017:

      UA: 32.71%
      AS: 27.22%
      DL: 13.61%
      OO: 10.98%
      AA: 8.20%
      EV: 5.51%
      HA: 1.78%

      UA carries significantly more animals than either of its similarly sized peers DL and AA.

      1. Thanks for the data breakdown! Another complicating factor is flight times. The overall average rate of natural deaths for dogs & cats is somewhere around 0.10 deaths per 10,000 animal-hours (that works out to ~11 year average natural lifespans). I assume that most people aren’t usually flying their pets on short hops. So if AA, DL, and UA are mostly flying animals on transcontinental or intercontinental flights, their numbers aren’t much worse than you’d expect from just natural causes.
        Alaska doesn’t fly as many long routes, and I think it also still serves some communities where it’s the only way in or out (remote spots or islands in Alaska where driving isn’t an option). I’m guessing that they also carry a higher proportion of kittens/puppies (new pets coming to those remote communities) as opposed to older relocating pets. And you’d expect kittens/puppies to have lower natural-cause death rates than older pets whose families are relocating. All of which potentially helps explain why Alaska’s numbers look so much better than their competitors.

    1. I’d really like to know how many of the animals as cargo are for people who are moving versus people who are on vacation. The only time my family has ever flown our pets is when we’ve moved.

      1. I flew my cat because we wanted to relocate him. We thought a 2 hour plane ride would be less torture than a 14 hour drive. He was small enough to fit under the seat in front of me, but I’m not looking forward to flying him back in several months time

        1. I moved my cats across country in a car from CVG to SEA. The first four hours or so were unhappy for everyone, then they figured out they weren’t going to the worst vet’s office in the world.

          I let them roam the car with the exception of in front of my legs. (The dash was a design that they couldn’t sit on.)

          When it got to nighttime they’d both be on my lap, rears at my knees and heads at my hips. It worked out pretty well for all involved.

          1. This is basically how my cat has been every time I’ve moved with her (both flights and day-long drives by car). Whines like the world is coming to an end for the first hour, then gets tired and falls asleep. She is prone to motion sickness, however.

            One time when I was moving my vet gave me a script for Xanax, but I couldn’t get the cat to take it.

  2. I’m somewhat disappointed not to hear anything on HA’s switch to the 787, though I suppose that isn’t something that would draw much lasting attention outside the specialty press. Also, I agree with Ingram — regardless of whether or not the US airline industry ever collectively loses money again, people won’t let Parker live down thaf quote.

  3. @ Gary, you are right that by removing 40% of those higher risk dog death, United still has more dog deaths than other airlines.
    However, United transported 138K animals in 2017, while DL transported 57K and AA did 34K.

    You cannot just draw a conclusion without looking at full picture. Making comments under blogs is easy, but it’s always better to read and think more before talk.

  4. One more pet comment… Reading that article reminded me that AS and VX had differing pet cargo policies… So I’m curious of what the status of pets on AS’s A320s is… Their website didn’t specifically call it out one way or the other, so I asked em on twitter, and I’m awaiting a response..

  5. Alll if you have missed the real real reason more dogs die at United; the pets are tendered at the cargo buildings which United has contracted out. There is a very high turn over of these contracted employees and the employee training Is quite poor. United has frequently violated its own regulations regarding kennels as supervisors order ramp employees to board kennels that are not complying with their own regulations; such as size and construction of kennels, missing food and water dishes, items in kennels that could be a choking hazards, short nose breeds that are not allowed to fly in the cargo pit. If the dog misses it flight because the kennel has to be sent back to the cargo building to be “fixed” then it gets shipped for free. I have seen many times in which a ramp supervisor lectures United employees about safety during a shift briefing and then later that day, the same supervisor orders a employee to board a kennel that is in violation of United’s own regulations. I know…….. it has happened to me numerous times. The whole PetSafe probgram is joke.

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