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Airline apologizes after dog dies while placed in overhead bin during flight

14 March 2018

"I witnessed a United flight attendant instruct a woman to put her dog carrier with live dog in an overhead bin", Maggie Gremminger of New York City, wrote on Facebook.

A 10-month-old French Bulldog is dead after being placed in the overhead compartment on a United Flight from Houston to NY.

Passenger June Lara shared a Facebook post describing the horrific incident. The flight attendant wouldn't let her keep Kokito by her feet and assured her that he would be fine.

United released a statement Tuesday apologizing for the incident.

United Airlines confirmed the death and said it was opening an investigation "to prevent this from every happening again".

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The airline's pet policy states that "domesticated cats, dogs, rabbits and household birds" are permitted in the aircraft cabin on most flights within the USA with a $125 service fee.

United Airlines has a poor record of transporting animals, the Guardian reports.

United spokesperson Charles Hobart told CBS that the flight attendant told the owner to place the pet carrier in the overhead bin because the bag was partly obstructing the aisle.

The dog suffocated to death during the three-hour flight, and United Airlines says it takes full responsibility while it investigates the accident.

Gremminger said on Twitter she wants to find out the name of the dog's owners so she can help them.

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Upon hearing that there was a dog in the bag after the flight landed, "the flight attendant seemed frazzled and shocked", the passenger said.

Although she was puzzled by the flight attendant's orders, Gremminger understands why the woman eventually complied. "My heart broke with theirs as I realized he was gone", the post added.

As pointed out by CBS News, United's policy says that a pet "traveling in cabin must be carried in an approved hard-sided or soft-sided kennel".

When the plane arrived at LaGuardia, Catalina opened the bin, brought down the pet carrier, and found Coquito's lifeless body.

Gremminger said she did a Google search for information about animal safety on planes, but couldn't find anything that addressed that situation specifically. While the bins are pressurized, a lack of airflow may have caused the dog to suffocate.

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The dog's death follows similar incidents for United Airlines, which had the worst rate of pet deaths in 2016, out of all US airlines according to the Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Report.

Airline apologizes after dog dies while placed in overhead bin during flight