Maggie Gremminger, a passenger on a flight from Houston to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, uploaded a photo of the dog’s owners on Twitter. “I want to help this woman and her daughter. They lost their dog because of an @united flight attendant. My heart is broken,” reads the image caption.
The Points Guy reports that during their flight, an attendant insisted that the woman put her dog, which was held in a TSA-approved pet carrier, in an overhead bin for the rest of the flight. Passengers heard barking during the flight, but didn’t learn that the dog had died until the flight was over.
“There was no sound as we landed and opened his kennel,” passenger June Lara writes in a Facebook post. “There was no movement as his family called his name. I held her baby as the mother attempted to resuscitate their 10 month old puppy.” Gremminger’s and Lara’s posts about the ordeal are now going viral on social media. United is facing online backlash. “Another reason I will never ever fly or support doing business with United Airlines!” one Twitter user writes.
A United spokesperson addressed the incident in a statement to The Points Guy: “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.”
According to United’s website, its policy for onboard pets is: “A pet traveling in cabin must be carried in an approved hard-sided or soft-sided kennel. The kennel must fit completely under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times.”