Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Airlines and animals aren't perfect partners.

There's already been some controversy over passengers who bring creatures on board for emotional support, when those creatures are mere pets

This, though, looks like something else entirely.

Maggie Gremminger says that she got on a United flight from Houston to LaGuardia and saw something that might boggle many minds and affect most hearts.

She says she witnessed a Flight Attendant tell another passenger to put her black French bulldog carrier in the overhead bin.

Yes, the dog was in it.

The passenger, who was traveling with a teenage girl, a baby and the dog, objected. 

The Flight Attendant apparently insisted that the dog carrier didn't fit under the seat.

As happens so often on flights, the Flight Attendant got their way.

The dog, says Gremminger barked during the flight.

At the end of the flight, the dog turned out to be dead.

Gremminger told People magazine that she assumed there must be ventilation in those bins.

If there is, how much could there be?

Isn't this like putting a dog in the trunk of your car?

She added: "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, she told People.

The dog's owner, said Gremminger, was left in agony.

"A stranger offered to hold her newborn while she sat on the floor, there in the airplane aisle. She was holding her dog and rocking back and forth. Her daughter was also crying," said Gremminger.

For its part, United seems to accept blame.

"This was a tragic accident that should never have 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," a United spokeswoman told me.

United has something of a history with animal deaths.

This, though, seems such an obvious failure of basic compassion, never mind following simple human rules, that it leaves one a touch speechless.

The airline told me that it has refunded the passenger's tickets and offered to fund the necropsy. 

I have a feeling that the passenger -- and any lawyer they might think of hiring -- won't be satisfied with that.

Published on: Mar 13, 2018