Dogs

Family of Kokito, French Bulldog that Died in United Overhead Bin, Reaches Settlement with Airline


In March, the death of Kokito the French Bulldog caused outrage among animal lovers and travelers alike — and led to United Airlines changing several of its policies.

The 10-month-old dog died after a United flight attendant insisted that the canine’s travel carrier, which contained Kokito, be stored in the overhead bin for the duration of a flight from Houston to New York City, instead of under the seat in front of his owner. Kokito was heard barking 30 minutes into the flight but was found dead when the plane landed at N.Y.C.’s LaGuardia Airport.

In early May, it was revealed that Kokito died from suffocation based on the results of a necropsy performed at Cornell University. The necropsy also showed that the canine experienced stress shortly before his death.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Traveling on a Plane with Your Dog

Now the French bulldog’s family has reached a settlement with the airline, according to CNN, which also reported that the details of the settlement, including the amount of money paid to owner Catalina Robledo and her family, will be kept confidential as part of the agreement.

“As we have said before, we are deeply sorry for this tragic accident. In March, United began a comprehensive review of its transportation of animals,” United said in a previous statement to PEOPLE in response to news of Kokito’s necropsy. “We also recently announced our collaboration with American Humane to make significant improvements in our program and adhere to the best practices of animal comfort, well-being and travel on behalf of our customers and their pets.”

RELATED: The Pet Travel Policies for North America’s Top Airlines

One of those changes includes new bag tags for pets traveling in the cabin. And now, for a non-service or emotional support animal to travel in the cabin, they need to be “domesticated cats, dogs, rabbits and household birds (excluding cockatoos) in an approved hard-sided or soft-sided kennel” that fits completely under the seat in front of the owner.

In April, the airline also started to issue bright-colored bag tags to customers traveling with in-cabin pets. “This visual tag will further help our flight attendants identify pets in-cabin,” United Airlines spokesperson Maggie Schmerin said in her statement to PEOPLE shortly before the new policy was implemented.

United also recently overhauled its PetSafe Transport program, the program used to ship animals in the cargo holds of United planes. The changes, made after collaborating with American Humane to review PetSafe, include banning numerous dog and cats breed from traveling in the cargo hold due to potential health issues.

 



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