United Airlines has apologised after the death of a pet dog which was stowed in an overhead luggage compartment at the request of a flight attendant.
Passengers aboard yesterday’s Houston to New York City flight report a young family was instructed to place their French Bulldog inside the overhead storage area, instead of letting the TSA-approved kennel jut into the aisle.
“I sat behind the family of three and thought myself lucky – who doesn’t when they get to sit near a puppy?” passenger June Lara wrote on Facebook.
“However, the flight attendants of flight UA1284 felt that the innocent animal was better off crammed inside the overhead container without air and water.
“They INSISTED that the puppy be locked up for three hours without any kind of airflow. They assured the safety of the family’s pet so wearily, the mother agreed.”
Passengers reported the dog barked for the first thirty minutes of the flight, but remained quiet for the duration of the journey.
Maggie Gremminger, another passenger, wrote on Instagram that “I assumed there must be ventilation as surely the flight attendant wouldn’t have instructed this otherwise,” adding “I heard the dog barking a little and didn’t know it was barking a cry for help.”
When the plane landed, the dog was dead.
“There was no sound as we landed and opened his kennel,” Lara wrote.
“There was no movement as his family called his name. I held her baby as the mother attempted to resuscitate their 10 month old puppy. I cried with them three minutes later as she sobbed over his lifeless body. My heart broke with theirs as I realized he was gone.”
— Maggie Gremminger (she/her) (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
In response, a United Airlines spokesperson said “this was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin.”
The carrier has apologised for the tragic loss, saying “We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them.
“We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again.”
This incident follows the death of giant rabbit on board a United Flight in 2017, and the horrific assault of passenger David Dao as he was dragged from his seat.