Dog dies after United Airlines flight attendant forces passenger to put her kennel in the overhead compartment


A flight attendant on United Airlines flight UA1284 from Houston Intercontinental (IAH) to New York La Guardia (LGA) airport forced a passenger to put her dog -in a TSA approved kennel (bag)- in the overhead compartment in stead of leaving it under her seat. At the end of the flight the passenger found her dog deceased.

Maggie Gremminger was a passenger on board the particular flight and tweeted: “I just flew into LGA (La Guardia) and witnessed a United flight attendant instruct a passenger to put her dog bag in the overhead bin. It was clearly a dog and while the customer was adamant about leaving it under the seat, the attendant pushed her to do so. Myself and a fellow passenger felt like that was NOT a thing. I am not a flight attendant though. Maybe they have air ventilation in there that I didn’t know about. I tried googling rules about pets on board but didn’t have ample time before take-off.”

“At the end of the flight, the woman found her dog, deceased. She sat in the airplane aisle on the floor crying, and all of surrounding passengers were utterly stunned. I am disgusted and traumatized. Pets are family. How could a trained flight attendant instruct a passenger to place her dog in that bin. It was her job to understand the plane and it’s rules/limitations.

June Lara was also on board the flight and posted on Facebook ( decided not to publish the pictures): “Today, I boarded my first United Airlines flight.

On my way, I saw a Frenchie that looked identical to my own precious Winston. He was with his family – a young girl, no older than 8, her toddler sibling and their mother. He was meant to grow, learn, cry, play with those young children and be their furry friend. He was meant to live a long life filling that family’s days with that special joy that only a dog can bring.

I sat behind the family of three and thought myself lucky – who doesn’t when they get to sit near a puppy? However, the flight attendants of flight UA1284 felt that the innocent animal was better off crammed inside the overhead container without air and water. 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.

There was no sound as we landed and opened his kennel. There was no movement as his family called his name. 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.

The Humane Society of the U.S. says air travel can be risky for pets and especially dangerous for brachycephalic breeds — such as pugs or bulldogs, whose short nasal passages make them vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke. This little guy fought hard for his life, filling our flight with his cries until he finally ran out of breath. United Airlines does not care about the safety of their furry travelers. This poor family paid $125 for their pet to be murdered in front of them. There is no excuse for the pain this family is suffering.

Today, I boarded my last United Airlines flight.

R.I.P Papacito

United Airlines responded to an article published on web site The Points Guy: “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.


  1. This attendant should be fired and prosecuted for animal cruelty.
    How ironic that the episode on right now, CSI/SVU is about animal cruelty.

  2. I am outraged by this!!! I hope that the entire flight team is prosecuted for animal cruelty!!! My heart goes out to the family!!!!

  3. In no way would I have allowed my pet to be placed in the overhead compartment. Let them arrest me. I cannot believe how ignorant some folks in authority can be.

  4. I have no words for this! What an immoral heartless company! I will never ever fly with that airline.. I’d rather walk to where I need to go before I would buy a ticket with them. United should be so ashamed. I hope that flight attendant rots in hell!

  5. This is common sense. OMG, it’s the same as why you wouldn’t put a dog in the trunk. It’s a living breathing creature that you can’t cut off the air for. I”m so furious. This person should be fired and anyone that watched this happen without getting the dog out, should be help accountable.

  6. This is common sense. OMG, it’s the same as why you wouldn’t put a dog in the trunk. It’s a living breathing creature that you can’t cut off the air for. I”m so furious. This person should be fired and anyone that watched this happen without getting the dog out, should be held accountable.

  7. TOTALLY OUTRAGEOUS! We, the customer, place trust that you will DO YOUR JOB (uppercase usage, for emphasis…); you have a covenant with us who PAY you, to take care of ALL of us, from my luggage, my body, my family AND OUR PETS!!! If we follow your rules and regulations for your pet travel–we are PAYING YOU–why don’t you follow through with proper pet handling also?? AND, that includes the proper training of your flight attendents, which also means, the atttendents SHOULD NOT BE RUSHING and forcing customer actions that end up being the opposite of COMMON SENSE, COMPASSION, CARING, AND your own policies!!! Are you a substandard airline? (substandard with customers–including their pets = substandard mechanic repairs = poor plane quality = poorly trained flight crew, and, so forth… It’s all related–where ELSE is there a behind-the-scenes problem with United, when you can’t even protect a pet of a paying customer, which should have been very easy to do, per your own rules and regulations??). With the pet who was killed, it shows that yes, I believe you ARE substandard after all, as evidenced by the incredibly awful insistence and totally horrendous lack of compassion and caring from your attendants on that flight; yes, ALL of them are at fault–why didn’t one of them STOP their fellow attendant who was insisting that the puppy to be put overhead? SHAME on ALL of the attendents–and, in addition, the flight crew, too, especially the captain, who is in charge of the plane, after all, and should have been informed of the problem so s/he could step in for the proper airline regulation and instead, follow regulations and directed that the puppy/pet-carrier be placed under the passengers feet on the floor. Why should I give you my hard-earned money to you? It’s already hard to fly on american airlines with the many problems that I’ve come across over the decades of flying–although, the #1 biggest problem has always been airline employees and poor customer service that ALWAYS create problems–as evidenced by the pets who are killed due to your employees’ poor decisions that don’t follow regulations, nor give compassion and caring during customer interactions (are you a robot? you’re human, so ACT LIKE ONE!). This poor customer service (including awful airline actions that obviously include one that kills pets) definitely informs my decisions for who I fly with… the lack of good customer service by airline attendants– which airlines make worse in their push for efficiency–means that poor customer service includes rudeness by the airline companies and their employees, which in turn includes rushing passengers onto planes to the point where they are harassed and even thrown off planes once seated in their paid seat. And, now, with this puppy incident, even more than ever, pets are in total danger; now, ANOTHER case of an animal being killed due to an attendents IDIOCY! and, yes, it is IDIOCY–where are your “smarts?” United Airlines, have you no shame! I always say, if you want to see the quality of a person–and a business–just look to how s/he treats an animal/pet… Where is your integrity?? United Airlines, you failed (including the attendants and the flight crew on the flight that killed the pet). The attendant direclty involved should get fired (does s/he deserve to be re-trained? I don’t think so. There’s “something missing” within the attendant who had insisted on putting the puppy in the overhead; s/he refused to abide by your policies and obviously BULLIED the passenger in order to force her to do what she instinctively didn’t want to do, because she obviously knew it was wrong to put her puppy overhead…and so, the attendant’s lack of a decent heart means that she couldn’t use compassion and caring as part of her job in order to properly follow airline regulations, which says the puppy/pet carrier should be placed DOWN AT THE OWNER’S FEET… You cannot “train” someone to be compassionate and caring; instead, unfortunately, this type of person (your attendant involved–if not ALSO the entire flight crew!) ONLY learns by money, their job, and narcisstic qualities. SHAME! Guess I’ll have to boycott United that treats its pets — and the human owners — so incredibly poorly! (RE: tonight’s ABC NEWS report, where you have TWICE the record of pet deaths… SHAME! it should be NONE, zero!!). You don’t deserve paying customers.

  8. I am still crying after reading this. Totally STUPID PEOPLE both the owner and the flight attendant. Unbelievable. You should not have a pet if you are so stupid to know it cannot get air stuffed in a small compartment nor should you be a flight attendant if you are that stupid. Seriously. French bulldogs are brachycephalic and have a hard time breathing to begin with! The owner of the dog has a responsibility to know the breed and do what is best for the dog. She could demanded to see the pilot or simply exit the plane. The flight attendant should be fired for now knowing airline policy. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID PEOPLE and a little dog lost it’s life because of them!

  9. United has never been my favorite, I won’t be on another united flight. One good way to make sure this doesn’t happen in the future is to bring criminal charges against the flight crew that was involved for animal cruelty. Maybe flight crews will be a little more careful and consult a superior, or even a manual when unsure of the rules. Maybe they will even use a little common sense if they had a reason, such as being prosecuted for whatever result was brought on by their negligence or stupidity.

  10. The owner probably was afraid she would get dragged down the isle and thrown off the plane if she didn’t do as instructed.

  11. The original blame lies with the owner who as an owner of this breed should have known this was wrong. I still would prosecute the attendant who insisted on this. IGNORANCE!! The suffering this pup went through horrific!!!!!!

  12. Listen, some of these flight attendants are bullies. They go off about the smallest things. I realize there are safety rules but I was on a flight where an attendant was yelling at a young man to take off his ear phones. He told her it was on “off”. She said said, “I don’t care.” I am sure the attendant with the dog was intimidating.


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