Travelers outraged after dog dies in overhead compartment

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - People that travel with their pets can't seem to understand what took place on a United Airlines flight that ended in a dog dying in an overhead compartment.

"We travel with animals quite often and I just can't imagine that happening," said traveler Molly Moore.

"Upset, very upset. And that family should definitely take action," said Cathy Hansen, who often travels with her service dog.

A family dog died after being put in the overhead bin on the flight to New York. The family says the dog was in a carry-on bag but was sticking out into the aisle. The family says a flight attendant then had them place the dog above them for the whole flight, and they were unable to check on him because of turbulence.

"That pup was up there by himself in the dark. That was scary," said Hansen.

According to reports, the flight attendant says she had no idea there was a dog in the bag. The family says they made that clear to the airline.

Many travelers say they would have gotten off the flight immediately, but others say that is easier said than done.

"Nowadays you are scared to protest too much because there are a lot of security issues and people are getting in trouble for things," said Joy Bruick. "The person was probably scared to argue too much."

"You just trust that they, in a position of authority, know what they are talking about - and it is just unbelievable," said Meredith Thompson, owner of Canine Cafe in Southend. "I can't even fathom that that would happen."

Thompson sells several items that make traveling with pets easier, including airline-approved carry bags, harnesses, and treats that help relax your animal.

"It has Valerian root in it so it naturally calms the dog down," said Thompson. "People look for dog-friendly places to eat and hang out. They plan their vacations around their dogs."

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Transportation, two dozen animals died on planes last year. Of those deaths, 18 died on United Flights.

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