A ten-month-old black French Bulldog puppy has died during a United Airlines flight from Houston to New York City. The puppy arrived with its family in a TSA approved pet carrier but died after a flight attendant demanded the owner put the dog into an overhead bin for the three-hour flight.
United has claimed full responsibility for the tragic incident.
Passenger, Maggie Gremmiger, said that she and other passengers could hear the puppy barking in the beginning of the trip and was horrified to learn that the dog had died in flight.
“A stranger offered to hold her newborn while she sat on the floor, there in the airplane aisle. She was holding her dog and rocking back and forth. Her daughter was also crying,” Gremminger told People Magazine of the scene following the discovery.
Gremminger told People once the dog was found dead, the flight attendant became "frazzled" and insisted she did not know there was a live animal in the carrier.
Here is United's pet policy:
“A pet traveling in cabin must be carried in an approved hard-sided or soft-sided kennel. The kennel must fit completely under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times.”
A spokesperson for United, Maggie Schmerin, released the following statement:
“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,” she said.
“We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again,” Schmerin added.
There is no official cause of death but while the overhead bins aren't air locked, they don't have good airflow.