To mark the fast-approaching one-year anniversary since security guards dragged a paying passenger (a doctor even!) from his seat on a United Airlines flight, United has done it again. This time they are being (rightfully) lambasted for the death of a passenger’s dog after an incredibly incompetent and/or evil flight attendant told the passenger to put their puppy into the overhead bin for the 3 ½ hour flight from Houston to New York. The French bulldog, which was in a flight-approved travel bag, died en route, People reports.
— MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
The dog’s death follows similar incidents for United Airlines, which had the worst rate of pet deaths in 2016, out of all U.S. airlines, according to the Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report. Add that to the whole, dragging-their-bloodied-customers-off-the-plane thing, and United has a bit of a PR perfect storm on their hands.
United has tried to get ahead of the disaster by quickly admitting fault. “This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin,” United Airlines said in a statement. “We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them.”
However, the damage may already be done: Digimind found negative sentiment on social for United Airlines increased 140% between yesterday and today. To repair the damage, Digimind’s Mohammed El Haddar said in an email that, “they will need to provide solutions and reassure their wide customer base, and to do so intelligently, they must be mindful of the overwhelming responses they’re already receiving about the incident.” And, you know, maybe not kill anymore dogs.