photo credit: Philip Pilosian // Shutterstock
United Airlines is dealing with another PR crisis after a 10-month old French Bulldog died on one of their flights. The family followed all the rules to fly with a pet in the airline’s cabin, even got TSA approval, yet, a flight attendant insisted the dog be placed in the overhead bin.
The dog was traveling with a mother and her 2 daughters. The family was instructed by the flight attendant to put the bag with the dog in it, in the overhead bin, for the 3 hours and 30 minute flight. The dog was heard barking, but he was not found as dead until the end of the flight.
One passenger told the story on Twitter.
“I just flew into LGA and witnessed a United flight attendant instruct a passenger to put her dog bag in the overhead bin. It was clearly a dog and while the customer was adamant about leaving it under the seat, the attendant pushed her to do so,” Gremminger wrote on Twitter.
“Myself and a fellow passenger felt like that was NOT a thing. I am not a flight attendant tho. Maybe they have air ventilation in there that I didn’t know about. I tried googling rules about pets on board but didn’t have ample time before [takeoff].”
“At the end of the flight, the woman found her dog, deceased. She sat in the airplane aisle on the floor crying, and all of surrounding passengers were utterly stunned.”
“I am disgusted and traumatized,” Gremminger said via Twitter. “Pets are family. How could a trained flight attendant instruct a passenger to place her dog in that bin. It was her job to understand the plane and it’s rules/limitations.”
United’s polices do allow for dogs, cats and some pet birds to travel in plane cabinets. If a pet carrier is brought on the plane along with a carry-on bag, an extra $125 must be paid.
“A pet traveling in cabin must be carried in an approved hard-sided or soft-sided kennel,” United’s policy on animals reads. “The kennel must fit completely under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times.”
The airline has released the following statement:
“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 airline is based in Illinois, where the law could allow the family to be awarded the cost of the dog, along with up to $25,000 in damages if a jury determines the dog died from abuse or neglect due to the flight attendant.
Written by Clarke Jones