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Flying the Unfriendly Skies

By Amy Fernandez

Flying with dogs always carries some risk, as we know too well. However, the general consensus is that –when possible- carrying the dog in cabin is the safest workaround. It is never out of your sight, never in the hands of strangers, etc.

Forget about that assumption. Airline personnel have been wielding big power in the years since 9/11. Passengers are regularly berated, fined, kicked off flights, and worse for perceived infractions ranging from what they are reading to what they are wearing as cabin attendants seek to maintain order on the flight. Monday night, on United flight 1284 bound from Houston to LaGuardia, that power included banishing a barking ten-month-old French Bulldog puppy to the overhead bin for the duration of the flight. According to fellow passengers, the barking did stop, which tends to happen when the air supply to the dog is restricted.

The puppy was reportedly brought onboard in a TSA-approved carrier and objecting to the confinement rather loudly. Regulations prohibit removing animals from their carriers inside the cabin and, like a lot of in-flight bad behavior, there is no specific protocol for dealing with an obstreperous puppy in a carrier bag. Yes, we know that dogs should be acclimated to crates and carriers prior to travel, which would have prevented what a United Airlines spokesman labeled, “a tragic accident that should never have occurred,” but dog people and pet people are two different things. According to witnesses posting on social media, the owner strenuously objected to the flight attendant’s demand, but ultimately complied.

She reportedly collapsed in the isle crying hysterically after hauling her pup out of the bin at the end of the three-hour flight and finding it dead. United quickly issued an official statement, which read in part, “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.”

That’s not too reassuring considering that United has been making the news on a regular basis for comparable animal handling disasters. It was just about a year ago that they made national news when Simon, the world’s largest Continental Giant rabbit, was found dead in the cargo hold of a United flight into Chicago’s O’Hare airport. For the past three years, United has had the highest record of live animal fatalities- as well as charging some of the highest animal shipping fees. We can only hope that publicity backlash following this latest incident will spark some changes within their corporate culture.

In the meantime, we can only encourage any dog lover to protect their pets. Don’t let your dog suffer a similar tragedy due to the negligence of an uncaring and untrained employee who does not have the best interest of your dog in mind.

 #uncaring_and_untrained_employee  #UnitedAirline

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Posted by on Mar 14 2018. Filed under Breaking News, Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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  • December 2018