Passenger Dog Passes Away in Overhead Cabin

Hasan Ahmed - 2N Nanotechnology
Posted on: March 22, 2018

United Airlines plunged under hot water (again) recently when a passenger’s dog died after being stuffed in the overhead cabin for the duration of the flight. The plane, heading from Houston to New York on a 3-hour trip, had an employee who told the dog’s owners it had to be placed in the overhead bin, otherwise it would block the path and potentially trip someone. The airline sent their condolences, and told CNN, “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.” They also refunded the money of the family.

This isn’t the only time United has messed up with animals on flights. Once, a flight was headed from Newark to St. Louis containing a dog that was set for Akron, Ohio. Another incident involved a dog that was supposed to be sent to Wichita, Kansas. Instead it ended up in Japan somehow. By the way, all these events happened in the same week.

United has since suspended PetSafe®, its cargo pet service. In an effort to achieve better air travel for customers’ pets, they, “…will partner with independent experts in pet safety, comfort and travel … [They] expect to complete [their] review by May 1, 2018.” It doesn’t affect pets travelling in the main cabin, but they will also review that. Beginning in April, United has stated that they will issue brightly coloured tags to better identify cabin pets. For emotional support animals, United recently became stricter on the regulations. The pets now had to be vaccinated (with evidence of vaccination) and “been trained to behave properly in a public setting and acknowledge responsibility for the animal’s behavior,” along with a letter from a medical professional.

United is infamous for their mistreatment. Just last year in April, a man was dragged off of his flight for not giving up his spot in an overbooked plane. A doctor, David Dao, seemed to have been knocked out in the mishandling of his body. Dao had suffered a concussion, a broken nose, and two missing teeth, along with other injuries. With his team of lawyers, they reached an amicable settlement (which is confidential). Because of this intense backlash of negative PR, United worked to focus on a customer-first mindset within the company. One example was providing significant compensation for volunteers who give up their own seat; up to $10000 in travel certificates is claimable for those who do, and one of Dao’s lawyers mentioned that it was a common sense solution and hopefully other airlines would follow suit. Although I’m upset with all the situations that took place, I guess I’m slightly relieved that United took the blame in all these situations. But you have to think how much a corporation has to mess up before they get it right and not fall into yet another PR fire.

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