United Airline received some negative publicity in 2017 when a passenger was physically hurt when he was forcefully removed from a plane to make room for an airline employee. It may be a new year, but United isn’t off to a great start. They’re in the news again — for all the wrong reasons.
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According to the New York Post, a woman on a United flight Monday from Houston to New York’s LaGuardia Airport was told she had to put her small dog in a TSA-approved pet carrier and place it in the overhead container.
Passengers heard barking coming from the overhead container but didn’t think anything of it. But when the flight landed, the dog’s owner, along with the rest of the passengers, discovered her dog had passed away.
Maggie Gremminger was also a passenger on that flight, and she asked the woman if she could post an image of her deceased dog on Twitter. The woman said yes, and Gremminger tweeted: “I want to help this woman and her daughter. They lost their dog because of an @united flight attendant. My heart is broken.”
Other passengers on the flight shared their accounts of the incident as well. “There was no sound as we landed and opened his kennel,” June Lara, a passenger on the flight wrote on a Facebook post. “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.”
As you could expect, outrage against the airline soon followed. “Another reason I will never ever fly or support doing business with United Airlines!” one Twitter user wrote on Gremminger’s post.
In wake of the incident, United Airlines has responded by acknowledging that proper procedure was not followed. “This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin,” United spokesman Charlie Hobart told CNBC.
United explained that they will be conducting an investigation as to how this happened. They explained in a statement that they intend to speak to the passengers who were on the flight in order to figure out what transpired.
“We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them,” the airline’s statement read. “We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again.”
The airline reached out to the passenger who lost her dog and apologized. They informed her that her plane tickets will be refunded and the airline will cover the cost of an autopsy for the puppy to help determine what happened.