On a Monday night flight from Houston to New York, a 10-month-old French bulldog puppy named "Papacito" died after a member of the flight crew unwisely stated that he should be put into the overhead compartment.
United Continental (UAL) apologized for the colossal fuck-up in an email statement delivered on Tuesday, stating that the event was a "tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin." According to June Lara, a nearby passenger who witnessed the exchange and wrote a Facebook post about it afterward, the owner of the young dog was told to put him and his carrier in the overhead shortly after boarding the flight.
Flight attendants "felt that the innocent animal was better off crammed inside the overhead container without air and water," Lara wrote. "They INSISTED that the puppy be locked up for three hours without any kind of airflow. They assured the safety of the family's pet so wearily, the mother agreed."
As pointed out by CBS News, United's policy says that a pet "traveling in cabin must be carried in an approved hard-sided or soft-sided kennel. The kennel must fit completely under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times."
United reportedly assumed responsibility for putting the dog in the overhead for the three-hour flight and is "investigating what happened to prevent such an incident from happening again."
Lara goes on to detail what must have been a very unpleasant and morbid scene after the flight touched down in New York. "There was no sound as we landed and opened his kennel. There was no movement as his family called his name," the Facebook post says. "I held her baby as the mother attempted to resuscitate their 10 month old puppy. I cried with them three minutes later as she sobbed over his lifeless body. My heart broke with theirs as I realized he was gone."
A separate passenger posted a picture of the dog's family after they arrived at LaGuardia Airport:
Gruesome stuff. Yeesh.