"This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin".
I sat behind the family of three and thought myself lucky - who doesn't when they get to sit near a puppy?
Passengers reportedly heard the dog barking during the flight and found out that the dog died when the flight was over.
Passenger June Lara wrote on Facebook that the flight attendants on the plane insisted the puppy in his kennel be placed inside the overhead bin. 'I held her baby as the mother attempted to resuscitate their 10 month old puppy.
Lara said that when the plane eventually landed three hours later and the owner, who was with her two young children, opened the overheard luggage, the dog was dead. "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".
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Passenger Maggie Gremminger told aviation website One Mile at a Time that the pet owner "adamantly pushed back" on the flight attendant's demand for the dog to go in the overhead compartment before complying. I cried with them three minutes later as she sobbed over his lifeless body.
The flight attendant, Gremminger said, seemed shaken by the incident as well.
A spokesperson for United said the airline will investigate the dog's death "to prevent this from ever happening again". "She made sure the flight attendant understood there was her dog and when the flight attendant still pushed her. My heart is broken", the post on Twitter read.
United transported 138,178 animals past year, more than any other American airline according to the US Department of Transportation. The company's policy for pets traveling in cabin is to have them in a pet carrier that fits completely under the seat in front of them and remain there throughout the flight.
And last February, USA Today reported 53 animals had died between January 2012 and February 2017 on United flights, according to the Transportation Department's Air Travel Consumer Report.