When flying with animals and pets, many airlines have policies and restrictions about bringing them on board an airplane. TSA usually issues approved carries that allow families and individuals to bring their pets on board safely. On a United Airlines flight, recently, a flight attendant forced a passenger to place her dog (inside the carrier) in the overhead storage unit during the flight. It sounds like a bad idea, because–it is. One passenger, who was on the United flight from Houston, Texas to New York City shared her story online.
I was in seat 24A, the woman (mother) was 23C, with her young teenage daughter in seat 23B. The mother had a young daughter and a newborn.
I was sitting in the row behind the woman with the dog, and the gentleman next to me witnessed it all as well. We both overheard/saw the interaction between the flight attendant and the passenger.
I witnessed a United flight attendant instruct a woman to put her dog carrier with live dog in an overhead bin. The passenger adamantly pushed back, sharing verbally that her dog was in the bag. The flight attendant continued to ask the passenger to do it, and she eventually complied. By the end of the flight, the dog was dead. The woman was crying in the airplane aisle on the floor. A fellow passenger offered to hold the newborn while the mother was crying on the floor aisle with the dog. it was this out of body experience of grief.
But holy **** I don’t know how the hell this happened. The flight attendant wouldn’t even NEED to hear there was a dog in the carrier. She was right there looking at the TSA approved bag. (The dog carrier is the black on the ground in the photo. It is clearly a carrier with mesh, which makes me question how the flight attendant could say she didn’t know there was a dog)
I feel angry and powerless and regretful. I know clearly this was not an intent of anyone and yet that flight attendant is responsible for this. How were we to know that maybe there wasn’t a new ventilation system in those bins? It’s not our job to know this information.
I understand emotional distress in a different way right now. I can’t get the image out of my head of the woman on the floor of the airplane aisle, crying and holding that sweet dog.
Immediately after the flight landed, myself and another witness stayed to speak with various United employees. The flight attendant denied knowing it was a dog, but the man seated next to me said he heard the flight attendant respond to the passenger “you need to put your dog up here” – therefore admitting that she knew an animal was in there. Additionally, I’ve been in touch with United via private message on Twitter.
They publicly replied asking me to message them – once private messaging them I shared my confirmation # and flight info. They replied:
“We appreciate you reaching out with more information. Please know that we are in contact with the passenger and thank you for bringing this to our attention.”
I also was offered $75 in credit (along with the gentleman witness) for staying and working with them to share our recollection of events. We both refused the credit.”
Gremminger also shared the story on her Facebook page, hoping to share the horrific treatment with others online.
My heart is broken. I am in shock and don’t know how I’ll sleep. UnitedPosted by Maggie Gremminger on Monday, March 12, 2018
United Airlines has since issued a statement to Business Insider saying:
“This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin. We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them. We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again.”
People online have been outraged by the incident.
— Chris Chmura ✈ (@Chris_Chmura) March 13, 2018
Why was the dog put in an overhead bin to begin with? No way I’m putting my dog in one. There is no ventilation.
— JourdanChaTaun (@JourdanChaTaun) March 13, 2018
What is wrong with some of your people? Why does this happen over and over again on United?
As a priority member I am appalled at the behavior of some of your attendants that I have witnessed.
Maybe you could sent them to Southwest for training on how to be a decent human being?
— Marcvs Critorivs (@marcvscritorivs) March 13, 2018
This is just disturbing! I would have NEVER listened to that flight attendant! How stupid & now she claims she didn’t know there was a dog in there!! Come on!!! So sad….
— Sue (@MamaSusan_) March 13, 2018
— Chris Federspiel (@chrisfeder) March 13, 2018
— Linda Donahue (@Middlesomething) March 13, 2018
Fuck you #United Dog killer. I am never going to fly with your airline ever again!
What is wrong with this company!!!???!!!
— kenny pang (@kennypang) March 13, 2018
UNITED AIRLINES SUCKS – Idiot sticking a dog in an overhead bin. Poor dog dies in flight. A real caring airline does it again.
— Robert H Kopp (@KoppsKorner) March 13, 2018
They really need to go out of business. They’re gangrene on the airline industry at this point. https://t.co/0UMs7DCUym
— Evan Scott (@probablyup) March 13, 2018