A French bulldog suffocated to death after a United Airlines flight attendant forced the dog to be placed in an overhead bin for the duration of a three-hour flight.
BuzzFeed News reported on Tuesday that United Airlines confirmed the dog’s death and said it was “a tragic accident that should never have occurred.”
Passenger Maggie Gremminger witnessed the incident and tagged media in tweets explaining what happened on Monday. She said the dog’s owners—a woman, a teenage girl, and an infant—were traveling from Houston to New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
I just flew into LGA and witnessed a United flight attendant instruct a passenger to put her dog bag in the overhead bin. It was clearly a dog and while the customer was adamant about leaving it under the seat, the attendant pushed her to do so. (1)— MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
Myself and a fellow passenger felt like that was NOT a thing. I am not a flight attendant tho. Maybe they have air ventilation in there that I didn’t know about. I tried googling rules about pets on board but didn’t have ample time before takeout. (2)— MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
The woman carried the black French bulldog in a standard pet carrier, and a flight attendant told her she would need to put the bag in an overhead bin because it didn’t fit under the seat, according to Gremminger. She said the woman was “very hesitant and reluctant,” and explained her dog was in the carrier.
“There was some back-and-forth before finally the flight attendant convinced her to move the carrier to the bin above,” Gremminger told BuzzFeed News.
After the flight, the woman was horrified to find the dog, which was reportedly not checked on during the flight, had died.
Gremminger said the woman was “shocked and heartbroken.”
“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,” she said.
I am disgusted and traumatized. Pets are family. How could a trained flight attendant instruct a passenger to place her dog in that bin. It was her job to understand the plane and it’s rules/limitations. (4)— MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
I don’t know how I’ll sleep tonight. It was clearly a dog in a TSA approved dog bag. Why would the flight attendant force the woman to put her dog there? I could have done something. I’m so upset.— MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
A spokesperson for United said the airline will investigate the dog’s death “to prevent this from ever happening again.”
“We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them,” the statement said.
H/T BuzzFeed News