A family's French bulldog apparently suffocated during a flight from Houston to NY on Monday when a United Airlines flight attendant forced them to place the pet in an overhead compartment for the three-hour trip. She initially placed the dog under the seat in front of her.
Another passenger, June Lara, wrote he was sitting behind the family during the exchange.
United said it would assume full responsibility for the incident and that it was investigating what happened to prevent such an incident from happening again.
The dog's companions - a woman, a teenage girl and a baby - heard it barking through the flight.
United Airlines has issued an apology after a passenger's dog died after the crew insisted to keep the dog in an overhead bin.
According to a witness who tweeted about the incident, the passenger with the dog "adamantly refused" to store it overhead, but was pressed to by a flight attendant.
A United spokesman addressed the incident in a statement to The Points Guy: "This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin. The woman was crying in the airplane aisle on the floor", Gremminger told One Mile at a Time.
When the woman was forced to place the dog in the overhead bin, Gremminger exchanged glances with the man next to her. I cried with them three minutes later as she sobbed over his lifeless body.
By the end of the flight, the dog was dead.
The eyewitness went on Twitter, saying that "my heart is broken". He said the airline 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. In 2017, United also apologized for the death of a dog that had been put in the cargo hold of a plane held for hours on a tarmac last summer.
According to the AP, 18 animals died on United flights past year, compared with six on all other USA carriers combined.
Putting animals in the overhead compartment is against the airline's policies, which say pets are required to travel in carriers that "must fit completely under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times".