“Tragic accident”: Dog dies in overhead compartment on United flight

FRANKFURT, GERMANY - JULY 17, 2014: United Airlines aircraft logo at an aircraft in Frankfurt. United Airlines is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

This story sucks and we hope we never write anything of this nature again.

But who knows, maybe this needed to happen so we could learn from it, and never, ever, do it again.

A family travelling with their pet dog on a United flight from Houston to New York has witnessed a pretty horrendous turn of events.

The family, whose black French bulldog was placed in a travelling pet carrier, were told to put the pup in the overhead storage for the duration of the flight by cabin crew.

The flight is roughly three-hours, for which time the dog was inside the closed compartment, unable to move, and sadly, unable to breathe.

Once the family touched down in New York, the dog was lifeless.

Maggie Gremminger who was seated behind the pet owner said the family was incredibly unhappy with the request to put the dog in the overhead storage.

“The pet owner was very adamant that she did not want to put the pet carrier up above,” Gremminger said.

“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.”

After some time, the owner of the dog agreed to place the pet carrier with the pup inside in the overhead compartment.

Given the family was preoccupied looking after their infant, the parents did not check on the pet.

According to the New York Times, placing pets in the overhead storage is strictly against the airline’s policies.

United’s policy stipulates that pets “must fit completely under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times.”

In a statement from United, a spokeswoman has publicly called the incident a “tragedy”.

“This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin,” Maggie Schmerin said.

“We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them.”

According to Gremminger, the flight attendant who had originally ordered the dog to be placed in the compartment was completely distraught once she had learned the dog had died.

Upon realising the fate of their pup, the owners could be heard sobbing and gasping.

“She realized the dog was dead right there and she just started crying,” Gremminger said.

“Then the daughter started crying, then a passenger, a stranger, took the infant and held the baby while they cried right there in aisle 23.”

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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