Puppy Dies After Being Placed in the Overhead Bin on United Airlines Flight

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.

If you’ve ever owned a pet, you’ll empathize with the profound sadness of this story.

A passenger’s dog died after a flight attendant forced the owner to place it in the overhead bin. 🙁  This is just another incident in a long list of bad press for United Airlines.

United Airlines is taking full responsibility.  But there is still a lot that we do not know.

United Airlines Is In The News Again After Dog Dies During A Flight
Transporting Your Pet on a Plane Is Generally Safe, but It’s Always Important to Know the Airline’s Pet Policy

Here are the details we do have.

Puppy Dies on United Airlines Flight

Witnesses claim that the dog owner was instructed by a flight attendant to put the pet carrier in an overhead bin.  The flight attendant denied knowing there was a dog in the carrier.  But at least one witness says he heard the attendant say “you need to put your dog up here.”

United Airlines is investigating the incident and is taking full responsibility.  They are also fully refunding the passenger’s tickets, and paying for the puppy’s necropsy.

United Airlines transported more animals than any other airline last year.  They also had the highest number of animal deaths reported to the Department of Transportation (~2 deaths per 10,000 transported animals).  Though many of those were supposedly due to pre-existing conditions.

When Shouldn’t You Follow the Flight Attendant’s Instructions?

There is no reason for a pet to ever be in the overhead bin.  And there is nothing in United Airlines pet policy that suggests that demand was necessary.

It’s possible the flight attendant didn’t understand there was a dog in the pet carrier.  But I think it’s highly unlikely.  Most witnesses are suggesting it took quite a bit of coaxing from the flight attendant to convince the passenger to move her dog to the overhead bin.

Bottom Line

The death of a beloved pet is a tragedy, and hopefully United Airlines (and other airlines) can learn from this incident.

This is also a good reminder that before you travel with a pet, it’s important to review more than just the airline pet fees.  Because sometimes even the employees may not be certain what the company’s policies are.

What do you think should be done about this?

Million Mile Secrets is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Join the Discussion!

5 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments