A dog died on a United Airlines flight after a flight attendant allegedly insisted that a passenger place the animal in an overhead storage bin, outlets are reporting. On social media, heartbreaking accounts of the incident have gone viral. According to one witness, despite the passenger’s attempts to refuse the request, the dog (a 10-month-old puppy) spent roughly three hours confined to the poorly ventilated overhead bin—and could be heard faintly barking at some points. When the plane landed, the dog was found dead inside his carrier.
If the reports are true, then the United Airlines employee responsible should be fired and charged with cruelty to animals for this dog’s horrific, terrifying death. Animal companions belong where their guardians can see them, care for them, and reassure them during what, to them, may be a confusing and potentially distressing flight.
Remember: It’s up to each of us to keep our animal companions safe, and we shouldn’t let anyone put them in harm’s way, including by confining them to a small space with limited air flow—no trip is that important. Never allow someone to treat your animal in a way that you know is dangerous or wrong.
Be Prepared Before You Fly
Traveling with animals can be a logistical nightmare. In some cases, it may be better to leave them at home in the care of a trusted sitter, such as a relative, close friend, coworker, or neighbor. While flying might seem to be the fastest and least stressful way to go, it can be the opposite if you’re turned away before boarding or if an animal is forced to fly in the cargo hold—which can be a death sentence.
We owe it to our animal companions to protect them, so research your airline’s animal policies before committing to travel plans.