Update: United Accepts Responsibility For Tragic Dog Death While Backing Flight Attendant

Filed Under: United

As just about everyone probably knows by now, on Monday night a dog died in the overhead bin of a United flight from Houston to New York LaGuardia. This happened after a flight attendant requested that the passenger place it there. Immediately after the incident, United issued the following statement:

This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin. We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them. We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again.

Now that it has been just over a day since the story went viral, United has had time to do some investigating, and has issued the following statement:

We have spoken to the family, our crew and a number of passengers who were seated nearby. We have learned that the customer did tell the flight attendant that there was a dog in the carrier. However, our flight attendant did not hear or understand her, and did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin. As we stated, we take full responsibility and are deeply sorry for this tragic accident. We remain in contact with the family to express our condolences and offer support.

To prevent this from happening again, by April we will issue bright colored bag tags to customers traveling with in-cabin pets. This visual tag will further help our flight attendants identify pets in-cabin.

Seriously?! Every eyewitness said that the passenger clearly stated that they heard the passenger say there was a dog in the bag, and that there was a discussion about it. As a reminder, here’s what a person seated one row back told me:

I witnessed a United flight attendant instruct a woman to put her dog carrier with live dog in an overhead bin. The passenger adamantly pushed back, sharing verbally that her dog was in the bag. The flight attendant continued to ask the passenger to do it, and she eventually complied.

If passengers seated in the row behind understood this, what is the flight attendant’s excuse? And what’s her excuse for not being able to very clearly see that the bag was a dog carrier? Going forward, why would United expect that a flight attendant would see a bright tag when they can’t see a dog carrier and can’t seem to hear?

To be clear, I don’t think the flight attendant wanted to harm the dog, but rather I think she was being negligent and careless, and there should be repercussions for that. This is no different than if a pilot isn’t following protocols and that causes him/her to have an accident, causing injury or death to passengers. I don’t assume the pilot intended to do that, but there are consequences for actions, and they should no longer be in that role.

I do wonder what “taking full responsibility” here looks like, as it doesn’t seem like they’re disciplining the flight attendant.

What do you make of United’s updated response? 

  1. Sounds like immediate dismissal of this FA is needed for safety reasons. If she cannot hear properly how can she react in an emergency…Or she actually did hear and needs to be dismissed. Either way #baigurl (Unfortunately this won’t happen).

  2. It seems like you’re judge and jury here, so the flight attendant must be guilty.
    Obviously all the passengers heard the woman at the time and of course none of them actually said anything at the time.
    In the internet court of opinion, this flight attendant would already be at the gallows.

  3. Others may have heard. Allegation and hearsay
    United had responded very professionally and even decided to start issuing new tags
    In the end unless there is a court case and they are called as witnesses move on and enough with this story.

  4. Based on all the accounts of how this went down, including an audible participatory conversation *with the crew* about the living animal inside the bag, this is an absolutely disgusting and dishonest response by United and they should be ashamed. The flight attendant should be disciplined and, in my opinion, should be investigated for charges of animal cruelty (innocent until proven guilty, but a legal investigation should take place). United should not be allowed to dust this under the carpet: their agent ordered an action that directly resulted in the consequent death of a puppy. They previously made clear that, not following crew orders results in being violently attacked on board, so what is one to do on United aircraft?

  5. @ Icarus — Out of curiosity, what’s the benefit of new tags if the flight attendant (allegedly) can’t see or hear?

  6. “To be clear, I don’t think the flight attendant wanted to harm the dog.”

    How would you know? What if she did? US is full of sickos like this.

  7. @ Menalwaysright — Because I assume there are more people out there who are incompetent than malicious. Perhaps I should have said that I at least give her the benefit of the doubt there.

  8. United is positioning their argument and their defense. It’s part of their playbook on animal incidents.

  9. What actually is the protocol regarding pets in bags? Was the passenger in exit row where bags must the stowed in overhead bin? Do we know? It sucks that the pet died but human safety should be the priority.

  10. @ Pete. Exactly. Let’s do away with the democratic system. We can just have trial by internet now. It is a pity the internet wasn’t around in the 17th century for Judge Jeffreys
    @ Luis. You will never know It’s your opinion For all you know she could have served you and you could have said the service provided was exceptional

  11. @ ABflyer — The passenger wasn’t an exit row. Instead the flight attendant assumed the bag was too big (which presumably wasn’t the case, since it would have been measured and verified at check-in), and instructed the passenger it needed to go into the overhead bin. Pets can only be carried in the cabin if they’re underneath a seat. They should *never* be in the overhead bin.

  12. “This is no different than if a pilot isn’t following protocols and that causes him/her to have an accident, causing injury or death to passengers.”

    No. Dog’s are not equal to humans.

  13. The solution here is not to carry pets. Period, full stop. The liability is way too high, and as we can see here, people are FAR too emotional to do anything but make a rash decision if something happens. If we can’t regulate seat width, and whats minimum standards for HUMANS, we should not be transiting any other living things. Anyone who thought that ANY company would throw its employee under the bus after 24 hours is silly. This is exactly the correct reaction for United, no matter how unfortunate the incident was.

  14. And reports are that the dog could be heard barking as well.
    Deaf, DUMB and blind flight attendant.

  15. In other words the flight attendant is LYING and United is participating in it.

    This is going to make a heck of a lawsuit. Pain and suffering….and collusion.

  16. Should the flying public be subjected to a flight attendant who can neither hear nor see? United’s explanation is pathetic and dishonest. I sure hope this passenger brings a lawsuit and that it goes to trial so a jury can decide whether to believe this garbage from United and the flight attendant in question.

  17. @Ben – “Out of curiosity, what’s the benefit of new tags if the flight attendant (allegedly) can’t see or hear?”

    OMG well played, sir, well played. Seriously. Thank you. I think even more of you for this one.

  18. Unless I’m really miss judging, I carry the exact same dog carrier! For 100 feet you can tell it is a dog / cat carrier.
    It is much more dramatic to have owner away from long time than have a day stress on plane with owner.

  19. United is a horrible airline. It’s easy to be judge and jury in this case. Are you kidding me?? The FA put A live dog in the overhead compartment. This is abhorrent. I am Houston based and I refuse to fly them… even though I’m 1MM from the old and great Continental.

  20. Well, I guess we now won’t see what the Union takes sides on will we? United effectively threw them a bone.

    I predict this will only harm United more. They are defending a crew that does not have public favor. Let’s face it, if (IF) the dog barked for 30 minutes while in the overhead bin, its not if the flight attendant knew, its how many flight attendants knew!

    Another big pocket shielding the personal responsibility of a person. I guess I should only do bad things and commit crimes while on the clock?

  21. @Endre to you it looks like a dog carrier from 100 feet but for people that never had a pet it might be just another bag

    I have to admit I sometimes hear something someone said and it just doesn’t register what they said exactly until much later. By then it’s probably too late and easier just to claim you didn’t hear it in the first place. I’m assuming this is the case here.

  22. United has to take responsibility whether the FA was negligent or not. So there is no benefit to United to publicly accuse the FA of lying.

  23. I’m angry. And I don’t know what the correct response to this tragedy is. But United is still falling short of appropriately responding to the situation. To be fair, this is not an easy situation to appease and I don’t know what I want to hear. I think I want them to admit that they failing to meet customer expectations and that this is down to a chase for strong quarterly returns. I want them to commit to a positive improvement in the passenger experience. While I’m at it, I also want a magical unicorn.

  24. First off: no one here who commented has been aboard that flight and involved in the situation. So no one can know to any exctend what people do or did not do.
    Secondly: If I travel with my dog, I always try to do my utmost to ensure its happiness and safety (most of the time I leave him with friends he adores) and that includes checking on him regularly. But I always communicate *clearly* that I have a dog with me to airport & cabin crew. My dog, my responsibility (same as with a child or elderly parent).
    Thirdly: It is good that now visual aids will be used by United. It shows that they care to learn from mistakes. It helps overworked personell well provided they are mentally present.

    And please let us not pass judgment since it is not our role, only the airline or the courts may judge the FA guilty in their eyes.

    Lastly: can we go back to Tripreports and Tipps not depressing news?

  25. People here always say, UA doesn’t care because stock prices are not affected. They can’t do nuffin cuz the unions are strong. And people shouldn’t judge. Last first, of course they should because they do; in court, one has to be more careful of course. Middle, basically the world is deunionizing; there are some islands left – and unions behaving like mafias are hastening their own demise and that of the islands as well. Finally, there is not a *single* theory that says that companies are not affected by constant negative PR, as UA rightly had – I know US domestic is meant as punishment for sins in previous lives or something and not supposed to be civilized, but in the end, there will be alternatives, different laws, competitors, and political action. This story is a failure of the system, not an accident, and it does contribute a twig to the pyre at least.

  26. The sad reality is that UA’s management (as well as those of all other US airlines) have a playbook for these type of events that goes something like this: “Let’s pretend to care and publish an apology, but our response doesn’t really matter. The flying public will forget about this in 3 weeks and continue to buy tickets on our flights because of our global network, convenience, and even our prices in some cases. Our stock price should continue to grow as long as fuel prices stay in line and there isn’t a macroeconomic event that dampens demand. Oh, and we can’t really fire or suspend this obviously incompetent FA or the unions will bring it up and threaten to strike or use it as leverage in our next round of labor negotiations.”

  27. “please let us not pass judgment since it is not our role”

    No, we are each entitled to pass judgment, have opinions, and think critically.

    My guess is that the UA FA union contract punishes intentional or knowing misconduct with termination, and negligent misconduct with less-than-termination. The FA is setting up a defense, should she be fired, of “I didn’t understand,” which would force UA to prove at an arbitration that she’s not credible based on witness testimony. _All_ of the known witnesses will contradict her based on what is known publicly, but will UA go to the trouble? IMHO they should.

  28. FA is either lying, or is blind and deaf, and thus unqualified for that job. I still believe there should be a criminal investigation for cruelty to animals here. I suppose their statement is meant to avoid aiding that.

  29. @Pete: Talking back to a flight attendant is a great way to get pulled off the flight. In this world where passengers are physically accosted by airlines and airport police for otherwise mundane disagreements with airline staff, would you step out of line to say anything? I wouldn’t. I want to get home.

  30. Yeah the FA is an idiot and should be fired. But the owner is also an idiot for putting him up there. I just can’t understand how (a) an owner would put him up there; (b) how she wouldn’t check on him at all in 3 HOURS flying. That seems obscene to me.

    Also, shame on the people that witnessed it and didn’t question the FA about doing this. Seems totally crazy and those people should also be ashamed of themselves and hopefully have a tremendous amount of guilt about allowing this.

  31. So, a flight attendant that can’t understand (or observe) that a dog is in a pet carrier, is responsible for the safety of passengers? Well, I feel safer already, just by not flying United.

  32. we CAN KNOW. this is not un-knowable. This “you weren’t there stuff” is what young earth creationists tell little kids to argue about dinosaurs.

    _All_ of the witnesses say the FA was told out loud about the dog. The FA’s defense was that she “didn’t hear or understand and didn’t knowingly…”?

    My guess is that that is based on union contract language. Knowing rule violation = termination, but negligent isn’t.

    IMHO, fire the agent and take it to an arbitrator.

  33. @pete This flight attendant should be at the gallows in both cyberspace and in real life. Duh to you if you see it differently.

    Incompetence causing death is punishable at minimum by losing your job, period. Also, potentially being sued in civil court and/or brought up on charges of animal abuse/cruelty in criminal court at maximum. Shame on you for thinking otherwise. Shame on her for not knowing there was a dog in a clearly marked pet carrier bag. And shame on everyone near earshot of that dog for allowing it to cry up there for however many minutes without checking on its wellbeing.

  34. Internet court of opinion…love it. It’s a dog people. I get it, man’s best friend and all that jazz, but pay for the cost of the dog, maybe give this lady a free ticket and move on. I wish this had been a gerbil, or hamster or some other such animal to gauge the reaction.

    Fifty poor souls die in a Cathmandu crash and there’s barely a peep here and on TPG…because I’m guessing it wasn’t in the US and was “just an accident.” An ignorant flight attendant takes action that presumably leads to a dog’s death (I say presumably because there is absolutely no proof yet confirming this; the dog could’ve been starved or dehydrated by the owner for all we know) and it’s “Oh my God, fire them all! Prosecute them! Sue them! Boycott them!” Get a grip people.

  35. F* United. The dog was overheard crying from the bin for 30 mins. Maybe the stupid flight attendant didn’t hear that either? Sounds like the flight attendant clearly has a hearing problem and maybe shouldn’t be a flight attendant if she can’t hear a dog barking. What else can’t she hear?

  36. I have many flight attendant friends and I’ve worked for American, they would never force a passenger to put a pet on an overhead bin, and if they did they would probably get suspended.
    I believe that the reason United doesn’t want to reprimand the flight attendant is that they are protected by their union and don’t want to fight with them.
    Unions are good for workers, but sometimes they give bad/inexperienced/unprofessional employees a pass for their actions. Why do you think the airlines in the U.S. have one of the worst customer service in the world??? There’s no consistency in service and they always seems unhappy with their job.

  37. @GP let’s not do that. However, many FA go by fake first names anyway. I know my girlfriend’s sister does. She works for an airline as a FA but not for United.

  38. United struck out again. The only reason the passenger complied was not to have her head slammed into the arm of the chair, breaking her teeth, concussing her and have her bloody carcass dragged down the aisle viewed by millions on FB, twitter and youtube!

  39. Same ol’ same ol’. Corporations involved with customer service look for the easiest, least expensive ways to cover their assets when one of their under-trained employees deals poorly with the public.
    Corporate apologies cost NOTHING and they are worth NOTHING.
    Next time speaking on the phone with a corporation customer service agent, listen to how many times they apologize, thank you for your patience and use the word: “unfortunately.”
    You are being robotically processed, like “cheese food” (read the package some time.) The mother will be processed, the kids will be processed, the dog got processed, the FA will be processed, the bystanders will be processed…and the profits will be tallied by the shareholders.

  40. Seriously if not following company policy and killing an animal in the process and then lying about it… what does a FA have to do to get FIRED!?

    This is such BS the FA needs to be held accountable!

  41. Negligence is the word and I hope they pay through the nose for it. That response (from UA’s lawyers) is infuriating, but somewhat expected from United, certainly does not seem like they are taking “full responsibility.”

  42. As a pet-loving dog owner, I offer 2 thoughts:
    – Like it or not, United did respond, accepted responsibility, and came up with an action item (the bag tag ident). Negligent FA? Maybe. Hard to say now if they’re telling the truth, and while a cockpit voice recorder is a grand invention, I don’t think we want cabin voice recorders, so we’ll settle for he-said she-said.
    – If it were me, there is NO WAY that airplane would have taken off with my pet up in the bin. If it meant I’m not airborne either – so be it. The passenger has to take some responsibility for not protecting their pet.

    Decisions were made by both parties to just “keep things moving smoothly”, and this was the unfortunate awful outcome. I can’t imagine what that passenger feels like right now.

  43. I said it yesterday and I still hold the same basic opinion – it is everyone’s fault who knew this was happening. No one had enough balls or common sense to stop and say, hey, that dog could easily die in the overhead bin so lets find a better solution. I still most of the blame on the lady who brought the dog because it is her ultimate responsibility, just like a child is the responsibility of the parent. I would leave the plane before putting my child in harms way if the sky waitress told me to and that is juts common sense. That said, after reading some of the statements in this article, I do put some blame on the sky waitress. Ultimately though, the dog is dead and no one did anything to stop this so its everyones responsibility.

    Another piece of common sense that everyone should have, or at least the upper management, is that there is something fundamentally wrong with United and incident after incident that many employees just don’t care. It doesn’t seem like United is really doing much to try and fix this, let alone recognize this problem, and they are making more money than ever, so I guess no one really cares in the dead. Everyone just wants affordability and convenience with the its not my problem mentality.

  44. Dogs should not be allowed inside the cabin, restaurants, stores, etc., What if someone was allergic to dogs, had an asthma attach and died? Who’s fault would it be then? This concept of “emotional support animals” is out of hand. I love animals, always had 2 beautiful and well trained large dogs but never take them where others would be inconvenienced. It’s starting to look like animals get more respect than humans these days. The dog owner should have been more assertive, open the dog carrier so the flight attendant could see the dog and refuse to put it in overhead bin. Who would do that? Why didn’t she check on the dog they loved so much when it was loudly crying for help and other passengers could hear it? Why didn’t any of the near by sitting passengers get out of their seats when they heard the dog crying and at least check on the dog? The owner of the dog is very irresponsible and should not own a dog in the future. It’s so easy to blame others. Take the responsibility for your own actions and mistakes. This is just getting ridiculous.

  45. To Pete—Other passengers cannot intervene in a “conversation” between a FA and a passenger. That is a sure fire way to be thrown off of the plane or worse.

  46. United’s behavior comes across over and over as callous, and inept in its interactions with all creatures and items in their care. Doctors, dogs, priceless violins.
    I thought the dog was barking during the beginning of the flight.
    Ultimately, from where does this culture flow?
    From the top. Oh, but Oscar is such a nice man…
    Enough of Munoz’ platitudes.

  47. Playing dumb or ignorant is the oldest trick in the book. I’ve seen many a manipulator get out of responsibility by acting incompetent. It’s the Paris Hilton effect: Do something bad enough and no one will ask you to do it again.

    It’s really frustrating that United is letting this slide. Of course, one could make the argument that every person within earshot of that poor barking dog also let it slide… cricket cricket. Seriously, who doesn’t check on a puppy for 3 hours… oh yeah, a mom with a lap baby. The dog was the victim not the owner.

  48. Lucky – Much like a suitcase doesn’t necessarily contain a suit, a dog carrier doesn’t necessarily contain a dog.

    Though I’m not sure what punishment you want the FA to be under? If you don’t believe it was malicious, it just be an accident. What benefit does anyone get for punishing accidents?

  49. @ Callum — You’re being a bit literal there. I wouldn’t assume a suitcase has a suit, but I would assume that a suitcase has clothes and/or other personal possessions. As far as your question of what benefit anyone gets for punishing accidents, the benefit is hopefully preventing something like this from happening in the future. If a flight safety professional can’t hear or see well, they’re not fit for their duties. I also believe pilots should be punished if they crash a plane and it was pilot error. Or do you think there’s no benefit to punishing accidents there either?

  50. @Cullum, our country has a long standing history of punishing accidents.

    You might argue the outcome, what is desired, and if it is effective, but we do it. When people don’t intend to murder when causing an auto accident, we call it (negligent) homicide. You might rob a bank and not intend to kill someone in the process, but if you do, we hold you to accountable…even though it was actually an accident (murder).

    When was the last time you saw someone carrying a pet carrier without a live animal in it?

    If a flight attendant can get off the hook just because they say it was an accident, why study and actually try to be good at your job?

  51. We should wait for the cause of death before drawing any conclusions. I fly AA first class with my dog and they make me put the dog and the carrier inside a closed closet. It’s only for take-off/landing and I can take him out if I want. However, I can leave him in there if I want as well. So I don’t exactly know what the difference between a closed closet and a closed overhead bin is.

    I’ve read multiple articles on this story. However, none addressed the question as to why she couldn’t put it under the seat. If her carrier was too big, maybe she should have been booted off the plane instead?

  52. Sounds like we’ve got an FAA violation here.

    If the FA doesn’t have functional hearing or a functional understanding of English, United flew an aircraft in violation of FAA rules. United admitted that she has difficulty with this, therefore is incapable of performing her duties.

    @Icarus, we’ve had trial by media for a few decades now; in more recent times it’s trial by internet. Either way, the court of public opinion has been law for many decades in the US, which supersedes the actual law. Even many federal judges have gotten caught up in this, legislating from the bench rather than enforcing existing law.

  53. This situation is heartbreaking. It may sound terrible but in my opinion this experience is even worse than the passenger being dragged from the plane how long ago. This was an innocent animal!! It didn’t have a say…and obviously it’s owner felt that she didn’t either when she balked at placing her dog in the overhead bin but was made to by the FA. Shame on the FA. Shame on United. What negligent behavior!! How sad that no one else who heard this interaction felt compelled to speak up. At some point we need take a stand and let our voices be heard.

    Has United thought how upsetting, even traumatizing this has been not only for the family but also the witnesses?

    And how sad that due to strong union contracts the FA can easily say she didn’t hear or see the dog in the bag and not have to deal with the consequences of her actions.

    Since the FA’s “vision and hearing are both at fault” she was/is a liability for United and should never have been working if these were such obvious problems.

  54. The evidence is overwhelming, as documented here and other places that United is in an overwhelmingly dominant position in the airline industry in terms of animal deaths and mistreatments. It’s not an accident, but rather an ongoing culture of negligence and indifference. No I don’t suppose the FA wanted to kill a dog that day; she just didn’t care, and her bosses don’t either, except possibly in a very limited way due to whatever temporary bad publicity there is.

  55. Do you know anyone that travels with a pet carrier bag and does not actually have a pet inside it. I never heard of such a thing. The natural thing most reasonable person would assume is that there is a pet inside the bag. United just giving lip service at this point

  56. A dogs life is not the same value as a human,

    I have traveled with my dog on United, they treated me great.

    I had a vet screw up once, my Attorney said we could not win,

    My dog was 21 years old, at this time no one knows the cause of death..

  57. Lay off UA. It could have happened on any US carrier
    and surprised it wasn’t an AS entitled Flight Attendant that initiated the incident.

  58. Wow Lucky, you´ve never made a mistake/bad choice in your life? Stop trashing UNITED and the f/a; it´s on them as much as it´s on the owner, you can’t honestly just blame the airline, come on, you´re better than that!!!!

  59. amazing to read some of the comments from people who are either boot licking toadies, sociopaths, or united employees.
    numerous accounts from passengers prove that either the sky waitress is a liar or unable to comprehend a simple sentence or hear a puppy barking non-stop for at least 30 minutes. blaming other passengers or the dog’s guardian for acceding to the demands of the sky waitress is absurd when we have all seen numerous accounts of people being forced off flights for ridiculous issues. since 9/11many flight attendents have let a false sense of power inflate their pathetic authoritarian personalities. it’s great to see the amount of anger and disgust being directed at united

  60. While it is very sad the loss of a pet, does anyone know what caused its death. I would not have thought that the overhead bins were airtight

  61. Your flight attendants are here for your safety.
    How can this flight attendant be here for anyone’s safety if she has a hearing and or comprehension problem and does not know the United cabin policies?
    Can you say sweep it under the rug with wonderful hollow words. UA is the leader in this area.

  62. What does a flight attendant actually have to DO to warrant termination? A union that protects and defends this type of behavior is not doing its membership any good at all. All it does is undermine a union’s credibility when a future event does warrant its ‘protection’.

  63. Just watched a Houston local TV news report on this incident. The Harris County District Attorney Office ( Houston is in Harris County) is investigating this incident. The investigation is to determine if the FA’s actions warrant criminal prosecution.

    Regardless of what UA thinks the elected HC DA may think differently.

  64. I don’t think United would publically say if they took action against this flight attendant. I think they should discipline or terminate the flight attendant, but we will never hear about it if they do. Also for you Emirates fans on here…..they do not allow animals in the passenger cabin (except for Falcons on flights from DXB to certain locations in Pakistan). I love animals like most people, but it’s unfair to the other passengers who aren’t pet lovers to be in an enclosed space with them. I hope the rest of the industry follows Emirates on this one!

  65. I must say, I am pretty taken back of some believing that a dog’s life is insignificant and should be handled as cargo. It’s a pet. A member of a family. A loved one. Honestly, I think people who travel with excessive baggage in the form of car seats and strollers should also be stored In cargo but we are forced to have to trip over it in the aisles and jetway.
    Since a dog “is not a human” it must be perfectly OK to ignorantly shove it into an overhead bin. They paid for the pet to travel on board and cleared the sizing of the carrier!
    What’s next? Babies in car seats? They take up much more space, distract and are a nuisance.
    Someone should have checked on the dog in flight and cannot imagine that they had not. Regardless, the poor innocent animal had to suffocate while it barked and pleaded and no one assisted. How could anyone (FA) live with themselves? Disgusting.
    UA is really wrong here by making the heartless comment that the air waitress did not hear the passenger. Shame on them. Will never fly them again and shared the story to many who agree.

  66. Are you a Global Services member? If not, how much status do you have with UA? Maybe you should take a step back and look at your life choices if you’re commenting on this thread, or feel like commenting, and defending United Airlines.

    Everyone realizes you have vested interests. Maybe you should try a little critical thinking in this situation.

  67. In retrospect, how was the exchange with the FA not filmed? I feel like every other incident that’s happened in the past couple years had at least one person, sometimes many, filming it on their phones. That would be the only way we would ever know exactly what happened

  68. dogs (or any other approved animal) have as much “right” to fly in cabin as the specific airline decrees. I dislike flying with uncouth humans who often smell weird, talk too loudly, are unable to fit into their designated seat and end up encroaching in my purchased space. whatever you feel is irrelevant, it’s the “free market” and the pet guardian has paid for the privilege of flying with their animal in cabin. also, for all the pathetic sociopaths who are saying that this puppy was “only an animal” you’re stuck in a primitive mindset and i feel sorry for anyone, but especially children or animals who may encounter you. finally for those defensive relatives/friends/supporters of the incompetent and ethically challenged flight attendant, get a grip. a paid job has specific duties and expectations. no one is perfect, however, egregious misfeasance and lying should result in both termination and banning of the flight attendant from working in this particular field. i doubt she’ll get what she deserves from the airline or the union, but you can bet that the other flight attendants have spread the news about her so she’ll be well known in her peer community. i hope she has a really unhappy life but considering her lack of competency, ethics, or basic intelligence, she probably already does.

  69. If, and I say if, the flight attendant assured the owner the dog would be OK in the overhead bin, as seems to be the case thus far, then she knew it was a living creature she was ordering to be put there. This would be very damning for her. This is against UAL policy, and common sense. We must wait for some indisputable evidence to become available for final ruling, but this is really bad for a) the dog, b) UAL, c) passengers who did nothing, and d) the owner. And yes, UAL is posturing for a lawsuit as their apology characterized the incident as an “accident,” of course… Altogether very sad for everyone. RIP little pup, and may there be peace in the world.

  70. We should NEVER EVER tolerate such despicable behavior!! Clearly airlines and their personnel – and probably a lot of the general public as well – lack the ability to feel empathy for other living beings!! NO WAY should any person be CAPABLE of causing the agonizing and torturous DEATH of another living being!!

  71. United’s PR effort just went from bad to worse, clearly an attempt to dodge legal responsibility, while angering the public even more. Worse than needing to “re-accommodate” Dr.Dao. Watch for the CEO of United to step up once again to put out the flames. Expect an “undisclosed settlement” with the puppy’s owner, and an end to media coverage. And of course, more air rage.

  72. They can’t accept full responsibility while simultaneously defending the pilot. That’s just utter bs and a cop out on their part. Mistakes happen, but that’s a mistake that should result in employee termination. There’s really no excuse for accidentally placing a live animal in the overhead bin. I’m sure that employee feels terrible about what happened, but she should still have to deal with the consequences of her actions. Saying “Sorry I didn’t hear” is just not good enough.

  73. Oops. I meant to type “flight attendant,” not “pilot.” (Clearly I wasn’t paying attention. Just like that flight attendant. Heh.)

  74. This lame, gutless repsponse from United is nothing but a kow-tow to the union. 100% gutless cave to a union. The FA is a liar and United should simply fire the FA. Why not??

  75. On the few occasions I have traveled with my dog, and only on United, I always book the entire row in First, and almost always the bulkhead so not to inconvenience anyone. I want to get on and off as quickly as possible, understanding not everyone likes animals. United has always been accommodating but I think the appreciate the fact I buy an extra seat.

  76. If the airline is working properly then there should be very few animals in the cabin. But then I’m not sure I’d trust mine with UA. UA is a mess right now.

  77. Don’t fly Swiss! It’s their policy to put a pet in the overhead for takeoff and landing!

    “The transport container must be stowed under your seat during the entire flight. Due to the design of the seats in the Airbus 330/340, this is not possible in SWISS Business (except in the last row) or SWISS First. Our crew will stow the transport container in the cloakroom, in one of the overhead luggage compartments or under another passenger seat during take-off and landing.”

  78. Not only should the attendant be fired she should be brought up on criminal charges for animal cruelty. It’s insane that United would be backing the flight attendant. The management should be overthrown.

  79. Well, I can’t say I’m at all surprised. There are multiple accounts of pax saying the F/A confirmed she put a dog into an overheard bin and also heard incessant barking. United is totally in the wrong to protect the F/A, but Oscar is almost militant about protecting UAL employees by fear (since Smisek was about the complete opposite, especially to sUA.)

    It seems like United is in the news every week about something negative: Leggings-Gate, Dr. Dao, Pets getting killed or mistreated, passengers getting verbally assaulted by gate agents. Oscar goes soapboxing and says “it will stop” but it never really does.

    United needs to take a hard look at what it’s become – Garbage compared to some of it’s peers. It needs to clean house in Chicago, starting with Scott Kirby who will dismantle this entire airline. It needs to get rid of any lingering Continental values and rid itself of this “merger of equals” culture. It’s clearly not working – scrappy policies implemented from CO (Like how Dao happened) and also a new color scheme. I can’t believe it’s now 26 years old and the company insists on keeping it.

    I stopped flying UAL entirely in 2015, having American as my number 2. Delta is always my number one and when they screw up they always treat me right.

  80. This is a real problem in flying – it’s a dictatorship and you must obey. You have no rights if the staff tells you to do something. One solution to change this could be that the passenger has the right to ask for another staff’s opinion. That way at least the fl attendant can’t use the excuse of not understanding or hearing. And the passenger has a second chance to voice their issue, hopefully not getting a stressed-out or rude staff the second time.

  81. The flight attendant should be fired!
    As if it wasn’t bad enough that her lack of common sense and irresponsible decision to place the dog in the overhead bin caused his death…………..she has to lie about it!!! Shame on you FA and shame on UAL! The FA should be fired, arrested and brought up on charges of animal cruelty!

  82. Technically the aircraft’s captain is both legally and morally responsible for the criminal abuse and death of the animal. An aircraft’s captain has immense authority and consequently responsibility–the captain will be named in the criminal investigation. And should criminal charges be filed, the captain will face them with the FA that committed the abuse resulting in the animal’s death (knowingly or unwittingly–still responsible).

  83. There must be consequences for animal cruelty. United must investigate (SERIOUSLY), but the authorities must do so if they whitewash the incident. The attendant is trying to get away with offering clearly false “explanations” and should be held accountable. United seems to give attendants too much authority over non safety issues. If they can’t, then their power must be limited. I would be banned from United for refusing to follow the instruction then sue them for damages. She took advantage of a woman traveling alone who has limited experience. Shame, shame, shame.

  84. We continue to hear these horrific stories about United Airlines – in the meantime – stock is up, Dec 2017 revenue growth Y/Y +4.26%, Dec 2017, net income growth +46.1%, net profit margin +40.09%. Consumers need to vote with our dollars – to expect any changes to this kind of behavior. I believe that the “legal” value of a pet is very low, even if negligence involved, so United has little to lose on this one. Other than bad PR. They seem OK with this.

  85. This is heartbreaking and disgusting. The flight attendant should be fired. This is why I suggest everyone should immediately start recording video on their phones in times of a dispute. You can’t say “I didn’t hear” if a video back you up! FIRE THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT!

  86. Backing the flight attendant, huh? Yeah, because an apology from United Airlines makes it better! “We are so so sorry and this is our fault- have fun in New York!”

    Someone needs to lose their job and publicly apologize, but that would mean losing face, right? Disgusting, miserable worm of a human.

  87. I’m not sure termination is the punishment it used to be. She actually might be the best flight attendant now as she might just take far better attention to what a animal carrier has inside. Not to mention, the social media outrage may render her unable to continue this line of work.

    While mere termination may be less than it used to be, civil or criminal charges perhaps would be more appropriate. We punish negligence (careless, thoughtless, forgetfulness, failing to pay attention, etc) everyday. And we punish it often to some extent based on the consequences or results of the negligence.

    I just no longer see termination as the real accurate and just punishment. If so, Id just make damn sure to do my negligent (or even real intentional criminal) acts “during work.”

  88. The owner of the dog and the passengers who witnessed this happen are also to blame. As a dog owner, I would never allow a flight attendant to place my pet in an overhead compartment. The fact that this woman was stupid enough to comply just proves she shouldn’t have a pet to begin with. And to the bystanders who said nothing and let a dog whimper until he went silent inside a confined space with no air-flow… shame on you for not speaking out.

    As for United and the flight attendant, they should be held accountable. What an awful company with extremely low standards for employees. The fact that they tried to pass this off as a misunderstanding just proves how incredibly shitty they are.

  89. The flight attendant should have been fired immediately plus animal
    cruelty charges brought against her. She has no common sense and obviously have much intelligence! What a stupid and horrific thing to do. WHO would ever do such a thing if they were normal human beings? Gosh, what a sad disgusting thing to happen to this poor animal! I am just horrified over this happening.
    UNITED HAS TO FIRE THIS IDIOT! The world is really getting strange with all
    these crazy people around telling us what the rules are and we are at times
    forced to listen to them because they are in control, especially in the airline
    industry. These mean Flight attendants are very intimidating to passengers and make them feel like prisoners. It is a real tense atmosphere at times
    on flights that I have taken…….almost a prison warden like feeling they give
    you and most times people are afraid to speak up when they see or feel
    something is not right. I yearn for the old days of friendly, pleasant, pretty
    and kind flight attendants!

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