Graphic Content Advisory: This article contains an image of a deceased pet.
United Airlines flight 1284 from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport to New York’s LaGuardia Airport turned into a death sentence for one family’s dog.
Despite being kept in a TSA-compliant pet carrier, which is intended to fit under a passenger’s seat, a flight attendant onboard insisted that the passenger put the carrier – with the dog inside – up in the overhead bin where there was little to no ventilation. The passenger refused, but the flight attendant was persistent and assured the safety of the family’s dog until the woman agreed.
June Lara, a fellow passenger on the flight, described the incident on his Facebook page. He said, “I sat behind the family of three and thought myself lucky – who doesn’t when they get to sit near a puppy? However, the flight attendants of flight UA1284 felt that the innocent animal was better off crammed inside the overhead container without air and water. They INSISTED that the puppy be locked up for three hours without any kind of airflow. They assured the safety of the family’s pet so wearily, the mother agreed.”
When the three-hour flight was over, they opened up the dog’s carrier to find him lying there, lifeless. June Lara held the woman’s baby for her while she desperately attempted to resuscitate her 10-month old French bulldog, but to no avail.
The family was left heartbroken and the incident has caused major backlash against the airline. People are left with so many questions, while many are refusing to fly on United Airlines ever again.
Lara is one of those people who have boarded their last UA flight. “United Airlines does not care about the safety of their furry travelers,” he said in a Facebook post. “This poor family paid $125 for their pet to be murdered in front of them. There is no excuse for the pain this family is suffering.”
According to United’s website policy on pets, “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…. A customer traveling with an in-cabin pet cannot be seated in the bulkhead or an emergency exit row.”
United responded to a request for comment from USA Today to confirm the story. United spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin provided the following statement:
“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.”
United told CNBC that it will pay for a necropsy of the small dog and is refunding the tickets, although that won’t bring back their beloved Frenchie or heal their hearts.
According to the Transportation Department’s Air Travel Consumer Report, 53 animals have died on a United flight from January 2012 through February 2017. A total of 136 animals that died on all flights of airlines during the same period.
Last year alone, there were 24 recorded incidents of an animal dying while being transported by a major U.S. air carrier. Of those 24 incidents, 18 took place on United Airlines.
This isn’t the first airline horror story involving a pet. click next to read another.
Growing up, Ashley always had a passion for writing. After receiving her Bachelor's in Journalism from Stony Brook University, she now uses that passion to write about the thing she loves most in this world: animals! When she isn't writing, you can find her curled up on the couch with a kindle in her hands and her Guinea Pigs on her lap.
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