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United in trouble again as puppy tragically dies on flight

March 15, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Passengers are distressed and furious, while United Airlines says it takes “full responsibility”, after a young dog died when a flight attendant ordered its owner to stow the animal in a plane’s overhead locker.

The sad event happened on a flight from Houston, Texas, to New York. The route takes about three and a half hours to fly.

The black French bulldog pup was in a pet carrier designed to fit under an airline seat – but a flight attendant apparently thought it could block the aisle so ordered its owner to put it in the overhead locker.

When the plane landed, the dog’s owner found it dead, passenger Maggie Gremminger posted on social media.

“She sat in the airplane aisle on the floor crying, and all of [the] surrounding passengers were utterly stunned,” Gremminger wrote.

Another passenger wrote on Facebook that the dog was travelling with its owner and her baby and young daughter.

“I held her baby as the mother attempted to resuscitate their 10-month-old puppy,” the writer said.

“I cried with them three minutes later as she sobbed over his lifeless body.”

Passengers reported hearing barking during the flight and Gremminger said passengers didn’t know the dog was barking a cry for help.

ABC News quoted United Airlines saying it took full responsibility, saying the “tragic accident” should never have occurred “as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin”.

The airline refunded the family’s fares but incident has triggered furious social media comment. Any allegation of animal cruelty or neglect is calamitous for an airline’s public profile.

United has been dogged by a string of public relations disasters which began with the violent removal of Doctor David Dao from a United Express flight last April. The doctor was dragged down the aisle to make room for a crewmember.

Then there was the death of Simon, the celebrity giant rabbit, during a United flight from London to Chicago. That triggered a lawsuit, with the owners accusing United of cremating the rabbit to destroy evidence.

In August, the airline was blamed for the death of Lulu, a King Charles spaniel, who died in the cargo hold.

Written by Peter Needham

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