A dog died whilst on board flight UA1284 from Houston to New York after a flight attendant allegedly forced its owner to store the animal and its carrier in an overhead bin for the duration of the four-hour flight, despite the pet being in a TSA-compliant carrier.
In a statement, United apologized for the “tragic accident” that killed the dog – a black French bulldog called Kokito – and accepted “full responsibility” for the incident.
“We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again,” the airline added.
It is not the first time that United has come under fire for its treatment of passengers – and now their pets.
Almost a year ago, the company made front-page news when a doctor was forcibly hauled off an overbooked flight from Chicago after he refused to give up his seat in exchange for a US$800 voucher.
Shortly before that, two women were reportedly turned away at the gate of their United flight for wearing leggings.
UAL shares were down 0.6% to US$72.16 shortly before the opening bell in New York.