United Airlines Just Changed the Meaning of "The Rabbit Died"

Remember that old euphemism, “the rabbit died”? It used to mean a woman’s confirmed pregnancy (or, in the case of this awful Joan Rivers/Billy Crystal movie, a man finding out he’s pregnant). Not anymore, thanks to the fine folks at United Airlines.

The beleaguered airline has yet another PR disaster on its hands in the form of one dead rabbit named Simon. Simon was not your garden variety rabbit (wink, wink); he was, in fact, a 3ft continental giant rabbit who was on his way to a new home with an unnamed American celebrity.

Simon was previously owned by U.K.-based rabbit breeder Annette Edwards, who put Simon on an April 19th United Airlines flight bound for Chicago. Only hours before, he had received a clean bill of health after a thorough veterinary checkup. Said Edwards, “He looked so happy at the vets, hopping about everywhere. He had his temperature taken, heart checked and a thorough going over which was all fine.”

Simon seemed fine upon arrival at O’Hare (yes, of course, it was O’Hare) Airport in Chicago. He was taken from the flight and placed by United Airlines in a holding area; airline personnel reportedly checked on him a few times before ultimately finding him dead in his cage.

Simon’s anonymous American owner is expected to sue United to recoup the money he spent to purchase Simon and the cost of the hare’s flight to Chicago. He’ll need to get in line behind Dr. David Dao, who will likely be filing the Mother of All Lawsuits against the airline after he was dragged from a plane earlier in April.

This has not been a great month for United.