By Martine Powers, The Washington Post
United Airlines said it will “assume full responsibility” for the death of a 10-month-old puppy that appeared to have suffocated after it was placed inside an overhead compartment on a three-hour flight from Houston to New York City on Monday.
According to accounts from fellow passengers on United Flight 1284, a flight attendant demanded that a woman traveling with the puppy and her two children place the puppy in its carrier inside the overhead bin for the duration of the flight. The woman protested, witnesses said, but the flight attendant assured her that the dog would be safe, and told her the family would not be allowed to travel if she refused to stow the dog in the bin.
When the airplane landed at LaGuardia Airport and the owner opened the overhead bin, the puppy was no longer breathing.
“This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin,” a United spokeswoman said in a statement Tuesday. “We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them.”
According to United policy, small pets can travel in the cabin in a hard-sided or soft-sided kennel at a charge of $125, as long as the carrier can fit in the space underneath the seat in front of the passenger.
Several fellow passengers who watched the distraught family recounted the incident on social media. The story was later picked up by The Points Guy, a travel consumer advocacy blog.
“I just flew into LGA and witnessed a United flight attendant instruct a passenger to put her dog bag in the overhead bin,” tweeted passenger Maggie Gremminger. “It was clearly a dog and while the customer was adamant about leaving it under the seat, the attendant pushed her to do so.”
Gremminger said she and another passenger were concerned that the dog would not be safe inside the overhead bin, but assumed that the flight attendant’s adamancy meant that there must be air ventilation inside the compartment.
“They INSISTED that the puppy be locked up for three hours without any kind of airflow,” another Flight 1284 passenger, June Lara, wrote in a Facebook post early Tuesday. “They assured the safety of the family’s pet so wearily, the mother agreed.”
Myself and a fellow passenger felt like that was NOT a thing. I am not …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – News