A DOG has died on a passenger plane after a flight attendant ordered the animal be put in the plane’s overhead bin.
The incident occurred on a United Airlines flight between Houston, Texas and New York on Monday.
In a statement, the airline said it takes full responsibility for the puppy's death and that pets should never be put in the overhead storage compartment.
The French Bulldog was travelling with its owners, a woman and her children, in an airline-approved pet carrier case.
Fellow passengers claim that the mother was pressured by a stewardess to put the case in the locker above her seat for the three-and-a-half-hour flight.
They said they heard barking during the flight and did not know the animal had died until the plane landed at LaGuardia Airport.
The flight attendant later claimed she was unaware the dog was in there.
Fellow passenger Maggie Gremminger tweeted after the flight landed to share what had happened:
— MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
Maggie told travel site One Mile at a Time that the mother was repeatedly pressured to put the dog in the overhead bin.
"The passenger adamantly pushed back, sharing verbally that her dog was in the bag," she said.
"The flight attendant continued to ask the passenger to do it, and she eventually complied.
"By the end of the flight, the dog was dead. The woman was crying in the airplane aisle on the floor."
I really hate @United Airlines. 🐶💔
— om (@oliviamunn) March 14, 2018
United Airlines say they are investigating the incident and are speaking with the flight attendant involved.
"This was a tragic accident that should never have happened," it 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.
"We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again. Pets should never be placed in the overhead bin."
Chicago-based United has a notoriously poor record of transporting animals on its flights.
The airline had the highest number of pet deaths for any US carrier in 2017 – with 18 deaths and 13 injuries to animals last year, according to the US Department of Transport.