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Dead Rabbit Leads to New PR Headache for United Airlines

  • VOA News

FILE - A piece of tape is affixed to a sign marking an empty line at the United Airlines ticket counter at Denver International Airport, April 16, 2016, in Denver, Colorado.

Just weeks after a public relations nightmare for United Airlines, there could be another headache for the company.

The airline is investigating the death of a giant rabbit that appears to have died in the cargo hold on a trans-Atlantic flight from England to the United States.

The owner of the rabbit, breeder Annette Edwards of England, told the Associated Press that the rabbit had been checked by a veterinarian prior to the flight from London's Heathrow to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

The nearly meter-long rabbit named Simon was purchased by an unnamed celebrity she said, adding that he had a chance to become the biggest rabbit ever.

“Something very strange has happened and I want to know what. I’ve sent rabbits all around the world and nothing like this has happened before," Edwards told the Sun newspaper.

In a statement, United said it was “saddened” and that it had been in touch with Edwards.

“The safety and wellbeing of all the animals that travel with us is of the utmost importance to United Airlines and our PetSafe team,” the statement read.

Edwards said United was going to look at CCTV footage to try to determine what might have happened to the rabbit, which was not yet a year old.

Simon is a breed of rabbit called the continental giant, and his father was well over a meter in length.

The death of the rabbit comes just weeks after United faced a customer service nightmare when a video went viral of a passenger being forcibly removed from an overbooked flight, causing visible injuries.

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