American Airlines Fined $13,000 After Transporting Huskies In Tiny Boxes

American Airlines has been fined $13,300 for the way it transported two dogs on a trip from Dallas to London. The airline admitted fault in relation to the movement of two huskies in October last year, agreeing it had breached standards set by the International Air Transport Association. AA has also said it will remind staff of regulations when transporting pets internationally.

American Airlines aircraft
American Airlines was fined for illegal transportation conditions of two huskies. Photo: AA.

Breach of international transport standards

On October 2nd 2018, American Airlines staff received two huskies at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport, scheduled for a flight from Dallas to London. The dogs were left in cramped cages for the entire nine hour flight, unable to sit, stand or lie down comfortably. They were received by the animal reception center in Heathrow, where complaints were made about the conditions.

American Airlines admitted to its negligence of the animals during hearings with the Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court (UK) and ordered to pay a fine of £10,000 ($13,300) for the two offences. They were also charged £789.50 in prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £107. The fine is due within the next 28 days.

About the hearing

The main issue in the case involved the transportation standards of the two huskies. They were kept in cages determined to be too small for the comfort of the pets during the flight. The International Air Transport Association sets the international standards, according to which,

“a container must, in general, allow an animal to stand, turn around, and lie down in a natural position,”

Mishka, the larger husky, is 81cm tall and 110cm long. The cage measured at 76cm high and 94cm long, making it impossible for him to stand up or turn around. The smaller husky, Kiyah, is 69cm tall and 89cm long, while its cage was only 71cm high and 85cm long. Although the huskies were delivered in the small cages, the airline should have turned them away or insisted on better accomodation, as they are ultimately responsible for the welfare of the dogs.

American Airlines told Simple Flying,

“The safety and comfort of our furry friends is of utmost important to us. A directive has been issued to all American hubs emphasizing the regulation and the need to ensure that the containers provided by the shipper are safe for our pet travelers.”

American Airlines gate agents
American Airlines employees were reminded of regulations when accepted pets onto flights. Photo: AA.

Traveling with pets

Restrictions on traveling with pets have loosed up in recent years with more allowances permitted for passengers. Many airlines are beginning to allow more than just service animals to travel along with their owners, whether in the cabin or with the cargo.

American Airlines crew loading baggage in the cargo
American Airlines accepted two huskies kept in small cages for a 9-hour flight. Photo: AA.

International transportation standards are set to maintain safety and ethical travel of pets. The fine imposed on American Airlines’ breach of the regulations is designed to ensure that all airlines pay close attention to how pets are being transported.

The $13,300 fine is barely a sniff of the revenue generated by AA, but the publicity will send a powerful message.