A 10 month old, French Bulldog puppy died while being stored in the overhead bin on a United Airline flight from Houston to New York, on Monday. The dog was stored in the bin for over 3 hours after a flight attendant told the dog owner that he needed to be stored there.
United Airlines has expressed its condolences while calling the whole incident ‘a tragic accident’. Apparently animals are never meant to be stored in the overhead bins, rather in kennels if their carry-on can’t fit under the seat in front of the owner, and it appears as if some sort of miscommunication took place.
The dog’s owner claimed to have begged the air hostess not to put her puppy in the overhead bin, saying repeatedly that her dog was inside the carry-on. This claim was supported by a few other eye-witness accounts. The overhead bin had no airflow and the dog in its carry-on was crammed in with a whole lot of other baggage. The dog reportedly barked and whined for about half of the trip, after which he fell silent. The owner and her daughter wanted to check on him but due to turbulence, were not allowed to get out of their seats. The air hostess in question claims to not have known there was a dog in the bag and if she had she would never have put it overhead. In any case, United Airlines has taken full responsibility for the incident.
The owner of the puppy was travelling with her daughter as well as a newborn baby and the small family was distraught at the loss of their new puppy. The owner reportedly fell to the floor crying when she realised her dog was dead.
Unfortunately, this type of incident is not all that uncommon. United Airlines had 18 animals die on flights last year with 13 animal injuries too. They are some of the worst ranked animal carriers in the US and their name is becoming quite infamous with animal lovers.
Pet owners are reminded to always make sure that their pet receives the care it deserves and has access to water and airflow during flights.
The incident is a highly unfortunate one that could have been easily avoided with the proper communication and following of procedure.