‘Tragic accident’: Dog forced into overhead bin dies on United flight


(RNN) – A passenger was made to store her dog in an overhead bin on a United Airlines flight taking off from Houston. By the time they landed in New York, the dog had died.

Passengers reported it barking during the flight on Monday night, but didn’t realize how serious the situation was.

According to a witness who tweeted about the incident, the passenger with the dog “adamantly refused” to store it overhead, but was pressed to by a flight attendant.

United issued a statement calling it a “tragic accident” and that “pets should never be placed in the overhead bin.”

The dog reportedly was in a carrier meant to be stored under a seat. It belonged to a woman who was traveling with her daughter.

The passenger who tweeted about the incident, Maggie Gremminger, said she was “disgusted and traumatized” and that it was the flight attendant’s responsibility to “understand the plan and its rules/limitations.”

I want to help this woman and her daughter. They lost their dog because of an @united flight attendant. My heart is broken. pic.twitter.com/mjXYAhxsAq

— MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018

This should never have happened. How did this happen? I am not sleeping tonight. @nytimes@washingtonpost@WNYCpic.twitter.com/5x5bckI7EU

— MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018

Last August a dog died being shipped in a United flight’s cargo hold. That flight, also from Houston, had to sit on a San Francisco tarmac for two hours after landing.

According to the AP, 18 animals died on United flights last year, compared with six on all other U.S. carriers combined.

And last February, USA Today reported 53 animals had died between January 2012 and February 2017 on United flights, according to the Transportation Department’s Air Travel Consumer Report. That total accounted for a third of all animal deaths on U.S. flights in that time period.

United’s statement on Tuesday said: “We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them.”

The company said it was investigating the incident.

According to company policy, a pet traveling in the cabin must be in an approved kennel. It must “completely fit under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times.”

The Houston Chronicle reported the dog was a 10-month-old French Bulldog. A passenger the paper spoke with, June Lara, wrote on Facebook the flight attendant “felt that the innocent animal was better off crammed inside the overhead container without air and water.”

“They assured the safety of the family’s pet,” she said. “So wearily, the mother agreed.”

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