This weekend, a passenger on United flight 1284 from Houston to New York’s Laguardia airport was ordered by a flight attendant to put her 10-month old French bulldog- which was inside a TSA-approved carrier- in the overhead bin. The passenger repeatedly told the attendant that the bag had a puppy inside but the employee insisted.
Passengers reported hearing barking for the first 30 minutes of the flight, although the family reports hearing barking from their sweet fur baby for up to 2 hours. However, by the end of the trip, “horrified passengers found the dog had died in flight.”1
Not only is it terrible that an employee of United Airlines could do such a thing but the particular attendant tried to lie about it after the dog was found to have died.
“Maggie Gremminger, a passenger on the flight, claimed the flight attendant denied knowing a dog was inside the carrier. However, she recalls another passenger saying he heard the flight attendant say, ‘You need to put your dog up here.’
‘The passenger adamantly pushed back, sharing verbally that her dog was in the bag,’ Gremminger said. ‘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.’”2
Gremminger went on to post a photo of the heartbroken pet owner sitting alongside her children at the terminal, next to the soft-sided dog carrier on the floor.
United Airlines immediatly took full responsibility and issued the following statement, expressing regret about the incident. (AS THEY SHOULD.)
“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.”3
Our hearts go out to the pet owners this morning. We are so sorry for your unnecessary loss.