After Dog Dies in Overhead Compartment, What Are Your Rights as a Plane Passenger?


The New York family whose dog died in the overhead compartment of a United Airlines plane this week may have been intimidated by the flight attendant. 

Sophia Ceballos and her mom told Inside Edition they felt they had no choice but to comply with the flight attendant.

“My mom said to her, ‘How are you going to put a dog there? He won’t breathe,’ She said, ‘You still have to put him up there.’ We trusted her,” Sophia said. 

Peter Greenberg, travel editor for CBS News, outlined to Inside Edition what the family should have done. 

“The owners didn’t know what the rules were and what their rights were,” he said. “Most people don’t know.”

Flights attendants have a lot of power, especially as heightened security concerns is a topic on the minds of passengers

Greenberg says you can speak up, but don’t be combative with the flight crew.

“You have to listen to them, [say] ‘Please show me the rule.’ Don’t be adversarial.

The flight attendant involved in the dog incident claims she “did not hear or understand, according to United, and did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin.”

Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants, told Inside Edition other passengers should have stepped in to help the family whose dog was in the overhead bin. 

“We call on the public to help us,” she said. “If you see something that isn’t right, please do speak up and make sure we understand what the situation is.”


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