Today in tragic airport pet deaths, a French bulldog died onboard a United plane after a flight attendant forced it to spend more than three hours crammed into the overhead bin, the New York Post reports.
According to one passenger on the New York–bound flight from Houston, a woman traveling with her two young daughters had carted the pup onto the plane in a TSA-approved pet carrier. And although United's policy says the kennels have to remain under seats "at all times," Monday's flight crew reportedly demanded that the woman shove her ten-month-old puppy in the overhead bin.
"They INSISTED that the puppy be locked up for three hours without any kind of airflow," June Lara, who claims he was on the flight, wrote on Facebook. "They assured the safety of the family's pet so wearily, the mother agreed."
According to passenger Maggie Gremminger, the dog let out a few yips and barks during the journey, but—by the time the plane touched down in New York—he'd gone silent. The little pup's family called his name, but he wouldn't make a sound.
"I held her baby as the mother attempted to resuscitate their ten-month-old puppy," Lara wrote. "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."
United apologized for what it called a "tragic accident," telling the Points Guy it was "thoroughly investigating" how anyone thought flying a bulldog halfway across the country in a tiny, unventilated compartment was a good idea.
"Pets should never be placed in the overhead bin," a United spokesperson wrote. "We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them."
United has the worst record of any US airline when it comes to pet deaths, and it hasn't done the best job of taking care of humans, either. But the tragic story just goes to show that airlines seem to struggle with how to safely transport any type of pet—not just the emotional support animals.
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Related: Emotional Support Peacock