The company is in damage control mode after this tragedy.
Shortly before takeoff on a flight from Houston to New York on Monday night, a passenger was instructed by the employees managing a United Airlines flight to put their ten-month old French Bulldog named "Papacito" in the overhead carry-on bin. However, this particularly ill-considered advice resulted in the young puppy dying due to an extended period without water or proper airflow.
After this tragedy went viral, the company issued a public apology regarding the matter. A spokesperson for United Airlines has revealed that this was a "tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin."
June Lara, a fellow passenger during this flight, took to Facebook to criticize the company and its employees, proclaiming that they did not handle the situation in an effective or knowledgable manner. Lara notes how flight attendants "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."
When reviewing the company's flight policies, one can discover that United Airlines actually does allow small pets to board their planes, under the condition that the 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."