In a tragic incident, a dog died on a United Airlines aircraft after the flight attendant told the owner to put its carrier in the overhead bin for travel bags. A passenger on the flight, Maggie Gremminger uploaded a photo of the dog owner on Twitter, with the caption, “I want to help this woman and her daughter. They lost their dog because of a @united flight attendant. My heart is broken.” The French bulldog, which was around 10 months old, died on the flight from Houston to New York.
One of the witnesses told BBC that the flight attendant told the passenger to put her airline-approved pet carrier in the locker. However, the attendant later stated that she was not aware of the dog being in the bag.
— MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
In a statement issued by the United Airlines later, the dog’s death was called a “tragic accident”. Moreover, spokesman Charlie Hobart also told CNN that the flight attendant should not have asked the passenger to put the dog in the overhead bin, which is mostly only used for carry-on bags.
The airlines took full responsibility for the mishap and offered their condolences to the family. “We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them,” the US airline stated in the same statement, according to a BBC report. “We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again. Pets should never be placed in the overhead bin,” the statement added.
According to a New York Post report, the passengers on the flight heard the dog’s barks during the flight, but were not aware that it had died until the flight landed. In a Facebook post, another passenger on the flight, June Lara wrote, “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.”
Gremminger, who was sitting behind the woman with the dog, shared the full account of the incident. “I witnessed a United flight attendant instruct the woman to put her dog carrier with the dog in an overhead bin. The passenger adamantly pushed back, sharing verbally that her dog was in the bag. The flight attendant continued to ask the passenger to do it, and she eventually complied. By the end of the flight, the dog was dead. The woman was crying in the airplane aisle on the floor. A fellow passenger offered to hold the newborn while the mother was crying on the floor aisle with the dog. It was this out of body experience of grief,” she wrote.