A dog travelling on a United Airlines flight from Houston to New York on Monday has died after a flight attendant told the animal’s owner to place the pet in the cabin’s overhead bin.
The owner of the dog, a woman, was flying with her child and initially wanted to keep the pet under her seat in a small carrying bag.
Upon arrival in New York after a three-hour flight, the dog was discovered to have perished during the trip.
In a statement released by the airline, United has begun an investigation of the incident, which it called “a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin.”
It has also been reported by media in the US that the airline has refunded the family’s cost of their tickets. Additionally, United has also refunded the $125 pet cabin fee.
The incident marks the latest instance that the airline has been criticised for its treatment of animals on its flights.
According to statistics centred on animal incidents on US-based carriers from the Department of Transportation, United has the highest number of animal deaths on its flights.
At a rate of 2.24 incidents for every 10,000 animals transported, the airline reportedly has 18 animals perish on flights with another 13 injured in transport over 2017.
UPDATE: A day after the death of a dog on one of its flights, United Airlines has mistakenly flown a Kansas family's dog to Japan. The 10-year-old German Shepherd was mistakenly loaded onto a flight to Japan, while a great Dane was sent to Kansas City. Airline officials in Japan have since reported that the German shepherd is on its way back to its family.