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United Airlines on Wednesday said the owner of a puppy that died in one of its overhead bins told a flight attendant the dog was in the bag before it was stowed there. The flight attendant, however, did not hear or understand the woman, the airline said, which called the incident an “accident.”
“We have learned that the customer did tell the flight attendant that there was a dog in the carrier,” United spokesman Maggie Schmerin said in a statement. “However, our flight attendant did not hear or understand her, and did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin.“
The French bulldog puppy was in a carrier that was sticking out into the aisle when a flight attendant told the passenger it would have to be moved, according to people familiar with the incident. Aisles must be clear for safety reasons.
“As we stated, we take full responsibility and are deeply sorry for this tragic accident,” Schmerin said.
Starting in April, the airline will issue brightly colored bag tags for in-cabin pet carriers, United added.