On Monday, March 12, 2018 a dog died in a United Airlines flight from Houston to New York LaGuardia after a flight attendant forced it into an overhead bin. The infamous airline has issued yet another formal apology after passengers reached out through social media hoping to help the dog’s owner.
“I want to help this woman and her daughter,” wrote eye-witness Maggie Gremminger on Twitter. “They lost their dog because of a United flight attendant. My heart is broken.”
— MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
The grieving family had followed all the appropriate regulations for bringing a small animal into the cabin of an airplane. According to the New York Post, the dog was properly secured inside a TSA-approved pet carrier.
According to their website, United Airlines requires that onboard pets “must be carried in an approved hard-sided or soft-sided kennel.”
Fellow passenger June Lara was sitting behind the family. She wrote about what she witnessed on the plane in a 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.
A spokesperson for United Airlines shared their condolences in a 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.
Keep this family in your thoughts and prayers. What do you think United should do about this tragedy?