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

You know what happened, don't you, on flight 1284 from Houston to LaGuardia on Monday evening?

A United Airlines Flight Attendant insisted a passenger's carrier be put in the overhead bin.

The carrier had a dog inside.

The dog barked. Then the dog died.

How could this have occurred? 

United is now offering explanations.

It says that yes, the passenger told the Flight Attendant that there was a dog inside the carrier.

However, as CNBC reports, United says the Flight Attendant didn't hear or understand. 

"Our flight attendant did not hear or understand her, and did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin," says the airline.

So the carrier ended up in the overhead bin.

The cause of death isn't yet known. 

However, United continues to call it a "tragic accident," for which it takes "full responsibility."

I fear that the dog owners might get themselves legal representation that will define the fullness.

Still, the airline has made a suggestion about how to prevent something like this happening again.

Brightly-colored bag tags.

It says that it will begin issuing these in April, so that Flight Attendants know for sure that there's a dog in the carrier and that they shouldn't become frustrated and put that carrier in the overhead bin.

I worry.

How often have you been given a paper tag for your carry-on and discovered soon after that it isn't there anymore?

How reliable can adding a tag actually be?

If the "tragic accident" happened as United says, wouldn't the barking from the overhead bin have alerted someone? Anyone? Especially a Flight Attendant.

Wouldn't that have given a clue as to the fact that the dog might be in distress? Or, indeed, to the fact that there was a dog in the overhead bin?

It seems likely here that the passenger -- as so many are now conditioned to -- followed the Flight Attendant's instructions, no arguments welcomed.

Perhaps what happened is a rare occurrence. Much more rare, it seems, than sending dogs to the wrong cities.

But here we have an airline taking "full responsibility," yet insisting it wasn't the Flight Attendant's fault.

I fear, if such a terrible thing did happen again, we'll be debating whether the brightly-colored tag was on the correct side of the bag.

Published on: Mar 14, 2018