Ben Squires

Travel Insurance

Flight attendant’s tragic mistake leads to dog’s death

Flight attendant’s tragic mistake leads to dog’s death

United Airlines is in damage control after a flight attendant made a tragic mistake which led to the death of a 10-month-old dog on a flight from Texas to New York.

The airline has said it would be taking “full responsibility” for the incident, which saw a passenger instructed to stow her pet dog, which was travelling in a TSA-approved dog carrier, in the overhead compartment by the cabin crew.

Maggie Gremminger, a passenger on the flight, say despite the woman’s resistance the flight attendant insisted upon putting the animal in the overhead compartment. By the time the flight arrived at New York’s LaGuardia airprot, the dog was dead.

“Tonight I was on a plane where I witnessed a @united flight attendant instruct a passenger to place her dog carrier (with dog) in the overhead compartment. The passenger adamantly refused but the flight attendant went on with instruction,” Ms Gremminger said.

“At the end of the flight — the dog was found (dead) in the carrier. I am heartbroken right now. I didn’t question the flight attendant, but I could have.

“I assumed there must be ventilation as surely the flight attendant wouldn’t have instructed this otherwise. I heard the dog barking a little and we didn’t realise it was barking a cry for help.

“... I was even trying to look up info online before we took off because it felt like it wasn’t right.”

Gremminger said the airline’s response to the situation was underwhelming.

“The flight attendant was very frazzled afterwards. I couldn’t make sense of it. She said she didn’t know there was a dog, but it was insanely clear, and I heard the passenger tell her that her dog was in the carrier.

“... I’m in shock right now. Tweeting those few tweets was hard enough. To make things worse, @united offered me a $US75 ($95) credit. I’m so disgusted and sad for that family.”

Social media commenters have struggled to make sense of the incident. 

United Airlines later issued a statement to

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

“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.”

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