A flight for one family and their beloved pet turned tragic after they simply followed a flight attendant’s directions. Now they are mourning the loss of their little dog Papacito.
A family of three boarded a three-hour flight from Houston to New York Monday night with their black French bulldog. According to WGN 9, they had placed the dog in a TSA-approved pet carrier.
But when they took their seats with the pet carrier at their feet, a fellow passengers says a flight attendant made them stick the pet carrier in the overhead bin. June Lara took to Facebook to explain what happened next.
“The flight attendants of flight UA1284 felt that the innocent animal was better off crammed inside the overhead container without air and water,” Lara wrote. “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.”
Other passengers said the dog barked during the flight and then fell silent. What the family discovered when they reopened the overhead bin is heartbreaking.
“There was no sound as we landed and opened his kennel,” Lara recounted. “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. I cried with them three minutes later as she sobbed over his lifeless body. My heart broke with theirs as I realized he was gone.”
Lara went on to accuse United Airlines of not caring about the safety of pets, to explain how bulldogs can more easily overheat and suffocate because of their short nasal passages, and to vow to never book a flight with the airline again.
United Airlines did not deny their flight attendant’s actions and gave their apology in a statement, saying, “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.”
Commenters on Facebook expressed outrage at United Airlines, calling on the company to fire the flight attendant involved.
“I am furious about this!!!!!” wrote Melyna Angell Huff. “That flight attendant should be fired. I am heartbroken for this woman but who would comply with putting their puppy in an overhead compartment????? My anger level right now is through the roof.,I will NEVER fly United Airlines again!!!!!!!!!
“I hope they sue them and they pay dearly,” added Marianne Valentine Helmich.
“I cried reading this. I would never put my puppy in the over head bin. I am so sorry for the family,” wrote Karen Leary Rose.
Another witness, Maggie Gremminger, defended the family for complying with flight instructions, telling People that she understands why.
“My only thought is that if it had been me, it would have been a hard scenario,” Gremminger explained. “The flight attendant is the authority figure, who should be trusted. I was thinking ‘maybe there is an improved ventilation system’ or something of the sorts. Also, the owner had an infant and other daughter. Causing a scene before flight could risk being kicked off the flight. I can only imagine she felt stuck in her decision to comply.”
Gremminger also remarked that the flight crew was very professional and supportive — after the fact — in their handling of the family who lost their dog. They also seemed bewildered by the action of that one flight attendant.
One commenter, Scott Brown, stood up for United, writing, “Why is everybody bagging on United? Like no company ever has employees that do things out of line? Company admitted it was out of their regs, stated they would take steps to mitigate it.”
“It's sad, but nobody is a ‘monster’, stop. The baggage bins aren't airtight, and everybody's contention is that the FA [flight attendant] knew the dog would die? What's with all the boycott nonsense? Sheesh... The owners certainly never suspected it was dangerous, why would a randon FA?” he continued.
What do you think of this? In other news, please pray for the victims of a horrific Alabama bus crash.