A puppy died after a United Airlines flight attendant ordered the dog be put in the overhead compartment. A black French bulldog, who was in a carrier, was put in the compartment before the plane took off from Houston. A witness to the events told the New York Times: “The pet owner was very adamant that she did not want to put the pet carrier up above,” she said. “She was saying verbally, ‘My dog is in here, no, this is my dog.’ The flight attendant, in response, really just continued to ask her to put it above because it was a hazard where it was, it was a safety emergency, someone could trip.”
The woman relented and used the time during the take off to take care of her young children, but the dog’s bark stopped during the ascension.
The pet owner discovered her dog was dead after the plane landed in La Guardia Airport. The witness said the owner was “heard sobbing and gasping,” while rocking back and forth holding the dead dog.
“She realized the dog was dead right there and she just started crying,” she said. “Then the daughter started crying, then a passenger, a stranger, took the infant and held the baby while they cried right there in aisle 23.”
“This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin,” Maggie Schmerin, a spokeswoman for the airline, said in a statement. “We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them.”
Putting animals in the overhead compartment is against the airline’s policies.