A United Airlines passenger paid for a ‘pet in cabin’ to take her dog on a flight and flight attendants insisted that the animal be stowed in the overhead bin. Upon arrival the dog was found dead.
United Flight Attendants apparently still haven’t learned their lesson from the Dr. Dao case and are still on power trips with nonsensical, made up rules which in this case caused a fatality of someones pet.
How many more horrible things have to happen at that company until people working at United come to their senses? This case is so outrageous that it’s hard to even try and make any sense of it.
You can read about it in the New York Times (access here).
United Airlines apologized on Tuesday after a dog died on a flight during which it was stored in a passenger’s overhead compartment. A witness said that a flight attendant had ordered the pet owner to put the dog in the compartment before the plane took off.
The dog, a black French bulldog that was traveling in a pet carrier, was placed in the compartment shortly before United Flight 1284 left Houston for New York at around 6 p.m. Monday, said Maggie Gremminger, 30, who was seated behind the pet owner. She said the owner was instructed to put her dog there shortly after she boarded with two children, one of whom was an infant.
“The pet owner was very adamant that she did not want to put the pet carrier up above,” Ms. Gremminger said. “She was saying verbally, ‘My dog is in here, no, this is my dog.’ The flight attendant, in response, really just continued to ask her to put it above because it was a hazard where it was, it was a safety emergency, someone could trip.”
Eventually, the pet owner, whom United declined to name, complied with the flight attendant. Ms. Gremminger said the owner was preoccupied by her infant during the flight and did not check on the pet, which fell eerily silent after barking during takeoff and as the plane ascended to its cruising altitude. …
“This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin,” Maggie Schmerin, a spokeswoman for the airline, said in a statement. “We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them.”
Absolutely out of control, unacceptable and also against United Airlines regulations of how to stow a ‘pet in cabin’ which is the official jargon for a paid animal that fits in a carrier of specific measurements allowed on board.
You can find United Airlines policies for traveling with pets here.
United allows domesticated cats, dogs, rabbits and household birds (excluding cockatoos) to travel accompanied in the aircraft cabin on most flights within the U.S. An in-cabin pet may be carried in addition to a carry-on bag and is subject to a $125 service charge each way.
-In-cabin travel for pets is booked on a space-available basis.
-A customer traveling with an in-cabin pet cannot be seated in the bulkhead or an emergency exit row.
-Two pets per flight are allowed in our premium cabins on select aircraft. Pets are not permitted in our premium cabins on Boeing 747, 757, 767, 777 or 787 aircraft due to limited storage space under the seat.
And on an especially macabre note related to this case:
-In the event of an emergency, oxygen service will not be available for pets.
A fellow passenger gave her account of the situation on Facebook (see here) and the post has gone viral since.
… The flight attendants of flight UA1284 felt that the innocent animal was better off crammed inside the overhead container without air and water. They INSISTED that the puppy be locked up for three hours without any kind of airflow. They assured the safety of the family’s pet so wearily, the mother agreed.
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. 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. …
This is the poor dog (deceased) after if was discovered:
At the same time I really gotta wonder what kind of person would give in to such an outrageous request from a flight attendant and actually stow the animal in the dark, crammed overhead bin. Even if there was sufficient oxygen that isn’t how they are supposed to be transported. Apart from giving that cabin crew a piece of my mind, I’d have left the aircraft and escalated the case to a manager. How this person could finally agree with the order to stow the dog this way is beyond me. The lady was probably overwhelmed by the situation given that she was traveling with two small children on top of the animal. Still, if you can’t handle it then don’t take the trip or ask someone else to fly with you.
The responsible flight attendant had better gotten out of sight as soon as possible because I know that my action would have certainly lead to me ending up in custody after seeing that person again.
United Airlines apparently already admitted responsibility in this case. The passenger hopefully gets an attorney and sues the hell out of United Airlines, a company whose employees are probably the worst in the skies and no incident can teach these people a lesson.
One would think that after the 2017 case of the beaten up doctor who later settled with United out of court there would be a higher sensibility. The flight attendant should be fired and charged with animal abuse while the owner of the dog should have her mental functions examined as well.
Keep in mind this animal was an official ‘Pet in Cabin’ for which the passengers paid a $125 fee. Not a fake Emotional Support Animal that’s in the news so often. $125 for the privilege of having your pet tortured and killed. Well done United, once again!