These Are the Safest Airlines & Most Dangerous Airlines for Your Pet

A new study may have you double-checking your holiday travel plans.

Traveling can be so stressful, but traveling with a pet has got to take the cake. You've got to worry about their comfort and safety. Hell, even if you decide to leave them home, they may still try to figure out a way to sneak into your luggage. But now, pet owners can breathe a bit easier while figuring out which airline would be best for their furry companion because of a new study by

The team analyzed data from the US Department of Transportation's Consumer Report Archive from January 2015 to December 2020. The report outlines the total number of pets transported by airlines, carries with the highest number of transports, and the highest incident rates. Incident rates encompass death, injury, or loss of a pet.

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Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines are the most popular airlines for travelers accompanied by pets in 2020. Alaska Airlines transported over 730,000 animals between January 2015 and December 2020, which is the highest number among all airlines. In 2020 alone, Alaska airlines transported 107,042 animals with zero reported incidents.

The airlines with the top three highest incident rates in 2020 were Hawaiian Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. Since 2015, no other airline has appeared in the top three for highest incident rates more than United Airlines, which, unfortunately, has made the list every single year. The airline, which has an average incident rate of 1.6, has transported over 448,000 animals since 2015 and has recorded the highest number of pet deaths and pet injuries of any other airline between January 2015 and December 2020. Delta and American Airlines also place in the top three for carriers with the most reported pet deaths and pet injuries since 2015, with incident rates of 1.05 and 0.71.

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Suppose you were to compare the incidence rates of Alaska and United Airlines. In that case, you’d find that Alaska maintained on average more than six times lower the average incident rate of United Airlines during the same period. Other smaller airlines that deserve a shining gold star for keeping pets safe are Horizon Air, Skywest Airlines, and Envoy Air. All three of these airlines have transported over 10,000 animals in 2020 while maintaining a zero-incident rate.

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Janae Price is a News Staff Writer at Thrillist. She's a native New Yorker and loves all things cheese, K-pop, and culture. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @janae_larie.