United Is In Another Shit Storm After A Flight Attendant Told A Passenger To Put Her Dog In The Overhead Bin
You may have already read the tragic story about the puppy who died a slow, dark death in an overhead bin on a United Airlines flight, and if you have, I apologize for bringing it up again and causing your heart to break and trickle down your body and out of your ass. If you haven’t read this story, then I apologize for bringing it up and causing your heart to break and trickle down your body and out of your ass. This is the kind of awful story where what should be the palate cleanser (read: a picture of an adorable puppy) is actually what’s bringing on the sadness in major doses.
During my dog’s 15 years of life, I’ve traveled with him on a plane at least a dozen times. I’ve never really had any major issues, except for my nerves splitting while subliminally saying to him, “Please don’t diarrhea in your carrier, please don’t diarrhea in your carrier…” But Catalina Robledo and her family had the worst thing happened to them when a United flight attendant told her to put their dog in an overhead bin. That overhead bin ended up becoming the dog’s coffin. I told you this story was the worst.
Catalina apparently did everything right and followed United’s rules when flying with her 10-month-old French bulldog puppy Kokito. She paid the carry-on pet fee, she put Kokito in a TSA-approved carrier and slid her pooch under the seat in front of her. ABC News says that before the three-hour flight from Houston to NYC’s LaGuardia Airport took off on Monday, a flight attendant told Catalina she had to put the dog carrier in an overhead bin because it was blocking part of the path. Catalina was also traveling with her 11-year-old daughter Sophia Ceballos and her 2-month-old son.
Sophia told ABC News that they repeatedly let the flight attendant know there was a dog inside the carrier, but the flight attendant didn’t care for some reason. Catalina’s husband Brayan Castano told BuzzFeed that his wife asked the flight attendant if she could keep the Kokito at her feet, or hold the dog, but the flight attendant wasn’t having it. There was some back-and-forth before Catalina gave in and helped the flight attendant put Kokito in the overhead bin.
Sophia said that two passengers behind them warned them that it wasn’t common and they shouldn’t do that. One passenger, June Lara, wrote on Facebook that the flight attendant knew there was a dog inside the carrier.
“I sat behind the family of three and thought myself lucky – who doesn’t when they get to sit near a puppy? However, the flight attendants of flight UA1284 felt that the innocent animal was better off crammed inside the overhead container without air and water. They INSISTED that the puppy be locked up for three hours without any kind of airflow. They assured the safety of the family’s pet so wearily, the mother agreed.”
“My only thought is that if it had been me, it would have been a hard scenario. The flight attendant is the authority figure, who should be trusted. I was thinking ‘maybe there is an improved ventilation system’ or something of the sorts. Also, the owner had an infant and other daughter. Causing a scene before flight could risk being kicked off the flight. I can only imagine she felt stuck in her decision to comply.”
Since poor Kokito was locked in a mile-high death tomb, he obviously barked. The flight had a lot of turbulence, so the family wasn’t allowed to get up to check on the dog. The dog stopped barking after about thirty minutes into the flight….. When they landed in NYC, Catalina opened up Kokito’s carrier and found him dead. She screamed and hit him on the chest, but he had gone to heaven, where he’s letting God know to put a certain flight attendant on the banned list.
Several passengers said that when Cruella de Vil’s flight attendant niece found out that Kokito was dead, she looked shocked and claimed she didn’t know that a living, breathing creature was in the bag. But Sophia has called her out as a lie-teller of the highest degree.
“In the end, she says she didn’t know it was a dog, but she actually touched the bag and felt him there. She’s basically lying to us now. She said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know it was a dog. I thought it was just a normal bag.’ But we told her it was a dog. She was lying!”
Michael Vick Air, I mean United, was real quick to say that they’re taking full responsibility for what happened to Kokito:
“This was a tragic accident that should have never occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin. 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.”
United also said that they’re refunding Catalina and paying the cost of an autopsy for Kokito. But TMZ, and anybody else with at least half a working brain cell, says that they’re probably not going to get off that easy. A jury could award Catalina up to $25,000 in punitive damages, on top of damages for emotional distress. There goes United CEO’s Oscar Munoz’s yearly bonus, AGAIN.
On top of this disaster, United is also getting hell from a Kansas family whose German Shepherd was accidentally flown to Japan instead of Wichita. And I don’t think it was a marketing stunt for Isle of Dogs.
This soul-crushing story has, of course, made people say, “What would you do?“, in the voice of John Quiñones. Pretty much every passenger who has spoken out has sided with Catalina, saying that she told the flight attendant there was a dog in the bag, trusted the airline and may have been afraid of getting stuck at the airport with two young kids and a dog. If it was me, I’d like to think that I’d calmly pull out a bottle of lotion (TSA-approved size, of course) and gently moisturize my wrists so that the metal wouldn’t scratch up my skin too bad as the police dragged me off the flight for refusing to put my dog in an overhead bin. But before I did that, I’d put my wallet in my dog’s carrier, hoping that he’d do the right thing (bail me out) and not the wrong thing (max my cards out at the food court).
Rest in peace, Kokito.
Pic: AP, Facebook