Incident Reports for Pet
Incidents aboard U.S. Airlines
HSUS, PETA, the ASPCA and other animal advocacy organizations
lobbied, and since 2005, The United States Department of
Transportation (USDOT) has required all U.S. Commercial airlines
that operate scheduled passenger flights to file monthly
incident reports. These reports address the number of
animals that died, were lost, or became injured during
This requirement is found in section 710 of the 2000 Wendell H.
Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (as
subsequently codified at Title
49, Section 41721 of the United States Code
14, Section 234.13 of the Code of Federal
The Department of Transportation publishes these reports on
their website, but they are not easy to find and often burried
(hidden) in the Consumer Reports area of their website.
Jol A Silversmith of Third
Amendment.com has done an excellent job of consolidating the
information into concise reports and overall information.
According to Jol A. Silversmith, "the data for each
airline does not necessarily indicate the quality of service
that it provides, because the number of animals transported by
each airline varies widely. For example, Continental
Airlines, which transports numerous pets, has emphasized that
incident reports are filed for less than 0.05% of the pets that
it transports. In contrast, Southwest
Airlines does not transport pets (except service animals, as
required by law), and no reports have been filed by Southwest to
Note: Southwest does now transport pets within the
cabin since this quote was written.
|The important thing to note is that it is
not at all obvious that those airlines with the highest
number of incidents are the most dangerous to your pet.
The data does NOT say how many flights were taken.
Airlines with the most pets transported over the years
such as United, Continental and Alaska Air, will clearly
have more incidents. However, we don't know the exact
number of successful pet transports from these reports.
The DOT does not require reports to be filed for all animal
incidents. In summary reports are not required to be filed
for incidents involved the following situations:
- Animals that are not kept as a pet in a family household
in the United States
- Animals that are carried on all-cargo or unscheduled
- Animals that are carried on a flight operated by a foreign
airline, even if the flight carried the code of a U.S.
According to Jol A. Silversmith, he received a letter from
the DOT elaborating that "it also interprets the reporting
requirements not to apply to "escapes [which] last
only a few minutes or a few hours."
Dog That Did Nothing. The Curious Incident of DOT's Animal
Incident Reporting Requirements" by Jol A. Silversmith
2012 Count of
Deaths and Injuries to Pets on Flights in the U.S.:
Total Deaths in 2012: 29
Total Injuries in 2012: 26
Deaths by Airline in 2012:
Alaska Airlines - 1
American Airlines - 5
Delta Airlines - 10
United Airlines - 12
Hawaiian Airlines - 1
To read more detail or to read the
actual incident descriptions - see