According to a CNN report
, a United Airlines flight attendant ordered a passenger to put her dog carrier in the overhead bin to clear the aisle on the three hour flight between Houston and New York. Initially objecting to the order, the passenger finally put her ten-month-old French Bulldog Puppy which was in the crate in the overhead compartment. When the plane landed at La Guardia, the dog was deceased.
In a statement, United called the dog's death a "tragic accident." Spokesman Charlie Hobart told CNN a flight attendant should not have told the passenger to put the dog in the bin used for carry-on bags."We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them," the airline said in reply Tuesday to CNN's request for comment about reports of the dog's death. "We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again."
According to a U.S. Department of Transportation report
issued in February, 24 animals died in the care of US carriers last year. Three-quarters of those, 18, died while being handled by United. Of 15 reported injuries, 13 occurred with United.
Of the problems documented in the DOT report, which include death, injury and loss of animals, United had the highest rate of incidents: For every 10,000 animals transported, United had 2.24 incidents.
The airline was also the largest transporter of animals, carrying 138,178 animals in 2017. Alaska Airlines, which transported the next-highest number of animals (114,974), had an incident rate of 0.26, one-tenth the rate of United.
Several of the animals had pre-existing health issues, the report said, and some incidents happened before the animals were put on planes.
The report includes information about dogs, cats, birds and other pets.
"The overwhelming majority of the incidents were attributed to animals not being acclimated to its crate or the animal having a pre-existing condition we weren't aware of," Hobart said. "Any time there is an incident with animals we do a thorough review."