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United Airline’s Dog Mistakes

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United Airline’s recent in-flight incidents involving dogs have ranged from dire to fatal. The worst of three incidents in about a week involved a French Bulldog puppy who died on a flight. A flight attendant insisted that the guardian put the dog in the luggage compartment rather than under a seat, although the dog carrier would fit in the space under the seat as needed. The guardian disagreed, but was warned that her family would not be able to fly unless they obeyed.

With no air flow into the area, the dog suffocated. A passenger on the flight said the puppy whimpered at the beginning of the flight but then went silent. Another passenger told reporters that she was holding the guardian’s baby while the woman tried to resuscitate her unresponsive dog at the end of the three-hour flight.


United Airline’s track record in flying animals, including dogs, is appalling. It was the carrier who was involved in 18 out of 24 animal deaths last year and 13 of the 15 reported injury cases (2017 report, pages 58-59). Statistical note: Although United Airlines carries more animals than any other airline, its problem rate is still almost many times higher than that of the second worst airline.

In addition to the French bulldog death, United Airlines had additional bugs that resulted in dogs being flown to the wrong destination. In one case, a family who moved from Washington to Kansas were horrified to find a Great Dane waiting for them instead of their German Shepherd, which had been accidentally flown to Japan. They were reunited after four days, which was tough for people and traumatic for the dog. The dog that was to be flown in Japan finally arrived at the right destination after a detour through Kansas.



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