A family who flew from Houston to NY made a horrifying discovery when they landed Monday night after a United Airlines attendant told them to store their 10-month-old French Bulldog in the overhead bin.
The dog was in a small pet carrier created to fit under an airline seat. A passenger the paper spoke with, June Lara, wrote on Facebook the flight attendant "felt that the innocent animal was better off crammed inside the overhead container without air and water".
United said it would assume full responsibility for the incident and that it was investigating what happened to prevent such an incident from happening again.
"At the end of the flight, the woman found her dog deceased".More news: Albert Wilson intends to sign with Dolphins
Gremminger said that the passenger was adamant about not putting her dog in the overhead bin, but the flight attendant continued to ask the passenger to put the dog in the carrier and place it in the cargo hold.
United said it was taking responsibility for the incident on the Monday night flight, saying pets should never be put in the overhead storage compartment.
The ten-month-old puppy boarded the plane in a standard pet carrier and was placed under the seat in front of its family, in a fashion most flights with animals request.
"She sat in the airplane aisle on the floor crying, and all of surrounding passengers were utterly stunned". She was holding her dog and rocking back and forth. I cried with them three minutes later as she sobbed over his lifeless body. Lara claimed that flight attendants said the dog would be safe inside the compartment for three hours during the flight. "My heart is broken".More news: Toys R Us is said to miss vendor payments as woes mount
There is no word yet on the official cause of death, though United has offered to pay for a necropsy, as well as refunding the family's tickets.
According to the AP, 18 animals died on United flights previous year, compared with six on all other USA carriers combined.
Although, overhead lockers are not air-tight, lack of oxygen could have been the cause of the dog's death, United States media report.
According to the United's official in-cabin pet policy, animals must be in a carrier and "fit completely under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times".More news: Royal pay gap? 'The Crown''s Queen Elizabeth paid less than her prince