Dog Dies on United Flight


Courtesy of Getty Images

A 10-month old French bulldog puppy dies on an United flight.

Amanda Chung, Photojournalist

A dog tragically died on United Airlines flight #1284 from Houston, Texas, to New York City’s Laguardia Airport on March 12. The cause of death was due to a United flight attendant telling the owner of the dog to put the dog carrier in the overhead bin.

Maggie Gremminger, a passenger on the flight, witnessed the altercation between the dog owner and the flight attendant. “The flight attendant told the passenger that her bag was blocking part of the aisle. I could not see it, as I was already in my seat, but it sounded like it was somehow not completely fitting beneath the seat in front of her,” Gremminger says.  “After the flight attendant asked her to move it above, the woman adamantly refused, communicating her dog was in the bag. There was some back and forth before finally, the flight attendant convinced her to move the carrier to the bin above.”

Gremminger then goes on to speculate that the reason why the owner complied was that the flight attendant was an authority figure, and the owner was with her infant daughter and didn’t want to risk getting kicked off the plane if she caused a scene.

The flight lasted for more than three hours, and the dog was heard barking in the overhead bin for approximately 30 minutes during the beginning of the flight. At the end of the flight, the owner opened the overhead bin and placed the dog’s carrier on the floor, only to discover that the dog had died.

After a few days, United Airlines came out with a statement regarding the incident. “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.”

Ashley Bui-Tran (11) is horrified by this incident. “It is simply not logical to put a living being in a confined space with limited oxygen,” she says. “I think the flight attendant is at fault here, and she should’ve known better; the family should be compensated fairly for their loss.”

While United is conducting an investigation, they have announced that they are suspending its ‘animal-shipping cargo program’ (People).