Puppy Dies Inside the Overhead Compartment of United Airlines Flight

A flight attendant insisted the puppy travel in the overhead, against airline policy and passenger protest.

By Justyne Yuen-Lee


Credit: Instagram / @united

A ten-month old puppy was traveling with his owner aboard a 3-hour United Airlines flight from Houston to New York. The French Bulldog puppy boarded, this past Monday, inside a carrier as per airline regulations. According to the passenger, and several other witnesses, a flight attendant insisted the puppy be placed in the overhead baggage compartment.


It should be noted that standard protocol for pet carriers is to be stowed under the seat. And even though the carrier was the proper size to be stored in this manner, the flight attendant insisted the puppy be placed overhead and that the dog would be “safe”. The passenger adamantly protested, but eventually complied with the demands, even after having paid $125 extra for the puppy to travel in the cabin with her.

Passengers could hear the puppy barking and whining, but the puppy was not removed from the overhead compartment. It is estimated that the dog died mid-flight after being denied access to water or fresh air.


Credit: Facebook / June Lara

June Lara, a fellow passenger, held the owner’s baby as she frantically tried to resuscitate the dog. But, it was too late. Lara emotionally recalled how the woman collapsed over the lifeless body of her puppy, sobbing.

Another witness, Maggie Gremminger, stated that the staff reacted as “best they could” and offered Maggie and another witness $75 credit. Both people refused.


Credit: Facebook / June Lara

This unfortunate series of events has many confused, since United’s in-cabin pet policy states, “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.”


Addressing the situation, United stated, “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.”


As we have mentioned countless times before, it is critical to do your research and know your rights when travelling with your pet.  We give our condolences to the family who lost their precious puppy in such a tragic manner.