A dog died in a plane after a United Airlines flight attendant allegedly forced the animal into an overhead bin.
“He was a member of our family,” said Sophia Ceballos, the 11-year-old owner of the puppy to "Good Morning America." “He was like my brother to me.”
The incident happened when Ceballos, along with her mother Catalina Robledo and brother, were flying from Houston to LaGuardia Airport in New York City. Traveling with them was 10-month-old French bulldog, Kokito, The family claims that they wanted to keep the dog underneath the seat in front of them but the flight attendant said that it would block the aisle. That's when the attendant allegedly instructed the family to put the dog overhead.
“We were gonna put him under the seat and then the flight attendants came, she said, ‘You have to put him up there because it’s going to block the path.’ And we’re like, ‘It’s a dog, it’s a dog.’ And she’s like, ‘It doesn’t matter you still have to put it up there,’” Ceballos said. “She helped her put it up, and she just closed it like it was a bag.”
A fellow passenger, Maggie Gremminger, told People that other passengers were freaked out and even offered to help.
“A stranger offered to hold her newborn while she sat on the floor, there in the airplane aisle. She was holding her dog and rocking back and forth. Her daughter was also crying,” she said. “People who could not see what was happening were confused as to what was going on. I tried to encourage people to let them off first but it was confusing and so we waited for the rows to filter out. It was absolutely horrible.”
Gremminger said that dog stopped barking about 30 minutes into the flight. After the three-hour trip, the family checked on their pet and found out that he was lifeless.
“My mom got up and got the bag, and she took him out, and she’s like, ‘ Kokito, Kokito, wake up!’ and he didn’t,” Ceballos said in another interview with "Today."
According to United Airlines policy, "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."
The company apologized for the incident in a statement to The Points Guy, calling it a "tragic accident." The company assumed full responsibility for the dog's death.
"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."
Below is a photo of the dog following the flight:
[Photo: Pexels, Facebook]