- A dog was found dead after a flight attendant insisted its carrier be placed in the overhead bin during a flight from Houston to New York.
- Passengers who witnessed the incident posted on social media, saying they were outraged.
- United Airlines issued a statement apologizing for the "accident."
A dog was found dead on a flight from Houston to New York after a flight attendant apparently forced its owner to place it in the overhead bin, People reports. United Airlines has apologized for what it called a “tragic accident.”
Passenger Maggie Gremminger, who said she witnessed the incident, tweeted about it on Monday night, saying she saw a flight attendant insist on placing the French bulldog named Papacito, who was inside a carrier, into the overhead bin, because the bag was blocking part of the aisle. “After the flight attendant asked her to move it above, the woman adamantly refused, communicating her dog was in the bag,” Gremminger told People. “There was some back and forth before finally the flight attendant convinced her to move the carrier to the bin above.”
Gremminger said she was surprised to see the flight attendant push to put the dog in an overhead bin, and tried to search online about whether it was safe. But she assumed that the overhead bin must have enough ventilation to keep the dog safe. Gremminger said she heard the dog bark while the plane was taking off and early in the flight, when there was turbulence. But after about 30 minutes, the dog was silent.
At the end of the flight, Gremminger said, the owner found her dog dead, and sat in the aisle of the plane crying, alongside her two young children. The flight attendant apparently claimed not to know an animal was in the bag. “I am disgusted and traumatized,” Gremminger wrote. “I don’t’ know how I’ll sleep tonight.”
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. (1)- MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
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 takeout. (2)- MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
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. (3)- MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
I am disgusted and traumatized. 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. (4)- MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
I don’t know how I’ll sleep tonight. It was clearly a dog in a TSA approved dog bag. Why would the flight attendant force the woman to put her dog there? I could have done something. I’m so upset.- MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
Another passenger, June Lara, wrote on Facebook (and posted graphic photos) about the dog's death. “There was no sound as we landed and opened his kennel. There was no movement as his family called his name,” she wrote. “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.”
United Airlines responded to the incident with 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.”
United’s pet policy allows cats, dogs, rabbits, and most birds to travel in the cabin for an additional $125 each way. Pets must be brought on in an approved hard-sided or soft-sided kennel that fits under the seat in front of the owner.
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