(AP/NBC) – United Airline says it takes full responsibility for a dog that died when a flight attendant ordered its owner to put it in the overhead bin.
It happened Monday night on a flight from Houston to New York.
In a statement, United called it “a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin.”
The dog was in a small pet carrier designed to fit under an airline seat. United said the flight attendant told the dog’s owner to put the pet carrier in the overhead bin because the bag it was in was partly obstructing the aisle. The airline says it refunded the tickets purchased for the dog owner and her two children and the fee that they paid to bring a pet on board – typically $200.
Passengers said they heard the dog bark during the flight, but when the plane landed it was silent.
Sophia Ceballos said, “My mom got up and took him out and said ‘Kokito Kokito wake up’, but he didn’t.”
Maggie Gremminger was seated behind the owner. “And it’s horrible now because now I’m thinking about hearing that dog and not knowing that it was needing help.”
The Department of Transportation says that 18 animals died while being transported on United last year – there were six cases on all other U.S. carriers combined.