NEW YORK — A dog died on a United Airlines flight from Houston to New York after a flight attendant apparently insisted a woman put the puppy in an overhead bin, according to multiple reports.
The incident, first reported on The Points Guy blog, happened on Monday night when the attendant apparently told the woman to put the TSA-approved pet carrier in the overhead bin.
“The flight attendant told the passenger that her bag was blocking part of the aisle,” passenger Maggie Gremminger told People. “I could not see it, as I was already in my seat, but it sounded like it was somehow not completely fitting beneath the seat in front of her. After the flight attendant asked her to move it above, the woman adamantly refused, communicating her dog was in the bag. There was some back and forth before finally the flight attendant convinced her to move the carrier to the bin above.”
Gremminger said she is haunted by the sound of the black French bulldog barking during the flight, and then falling silent. The owner did not discover the dog had died until after the plane landed.
June Lara, who was on the flight, wrote about the incident on Facebook:
“There was no sound as we landed and opened his kennel. 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.”
A United Airlines spokesperson sent a statement to The Points Guy:
“This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin. 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.”
The cause of death is unclear, however air circulation is minimal inside overhead bins. While the bins are pressurized, a lack of airflow may have caused the dog to suffocate.
Read June Lara’s full Facebook post:
Today, I boarded my first United Airlines flight.
On my way, I saw a Frenchie that looked identical to my own precious Winston. He was with his family – a young girl, no older than 8, her toddler sibling and their mother. He was meant to grow, learn, cry, play with those young children and be their furry friend. He was meant to live a long life filling that family’s days with that special joy that only a dog can bring.
I sat behind the family of three and thought myself lucky – who doesn’t when they get to sit near a puppy? 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.
There was no sound as we landed and opened his kennel. 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.
The Humane Society of the U.S. says air travel can be risky for pets and especially dangerous for brachycephalic breeds — such as pugs or bulldogs, whose short nasal passages make them vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke. This little guy fought hard for his life, filling our flight with his cries until he finally ran out of breath. United Airlines does not care about the safety of their furry travelers. This poor family paid $125 for their pet to be murdered in front of them. There is no excuse for the pain this family is suffering.
Today, I boarded my last United Airlines flight.