According to fellow passenger Maggie Gremminger, a woman with young children and a pup in a travel bag was told by a flight attendant that her French bulldog had to be stowed in the overhead locker, resulting in the dog’s death during the three-hour flight.
The owners of 10-month-old Kokito are now mourning the puppy’s death, but they’re not alone.
Concerned celebrities including Olivia Munn, James Corden, and Pretty Little Liars‘ Ashley Benson have since spoken out about the horrific event, condemning the airline for its abuse of animals.
“I’ll never fly United”, Munn told TMZ while going through security at LAX, adding, “If they can’t take care of all their passengers and the animals, I don’t think anyone should fly with them.”
The X-Men: Apocalypse star, who supports animal charities Paws For Cause and PETA, empathised with Kokito’s owners.
“I feel so bad for them,” she said.
The Late Late Show host Corden was similarly outraged, calling the incident “horrific, awful and upsetting” and demanded action to prevent it from occurring again.
Benson followed suit, writing that she was “so disgusted” by the flight attendant’s actions, and vowing to never fly with the airline again. “Shame on you,” the actress passionately wrote on Twitter.
United has issued a statement apologising for the incident.
“This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin,” read the statement.
“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.”