Things aren’t going well for United Airlines. Following the death of a puppy on one of its flights, animal activists gathered at LaGuardia airport to protest the company. Some at the event Sunday were referring to the protest as a “dog-in”.
Tragically, the deceased puppy suffocated to death in an overhead compartment bin. Apparently, the passengers were instructed by the flight attendant to store the animal in the bin. The puppy’s name was Kokito.
The flight in question was from Houston to LaGuardia airport. The flight took an estimated four and a half hours. According to the airline, the flight attendant who gave the instructions either misheard or misunderstood the passengers’ concerns about the dog.
The airline reimbursed the family for all of their expenses for the flight. These included the plane tickets as well as a $200 pet fee for Kokito. The airline has also issued a statement saying that they will now flag pet crates with bright-colored tags.
The family attended the protest this Sunday. Also in attendance was state Senator Marisol Alcantara (D-Manhattan). The Senator used the protest to introduce new legislation, which creates a sort of pet passenger bill of rights. Among many things, the new rules would forbid the storing of pets in overhead compartment bins. It would also make sure pets have access to necessities like clean water and pet food.
The tragic death of Kokito comes in a string of dog-related incidents for the embattled United Airlines. Last week, the airline accidentally shipped a dog all the way to Japan instead of to Kansas. Also last week, United had to re-route a St. Louis flight because of an unauthorized dog onboard.
United Airlines carries the highest number of dogs of all major airlines. They also have the most incidents and accidents. In 2017, the company had 138,178 animal passengers. Of those animals, 18 died in the travel process.
The protestors at LaGuardia hope to bring attention to this issue and initiate change. A puppy suffocating to death is objectively tragic. Hopefully the incident can be a rallying point to make sure these sorts of incidents can be prevented.