Family devastated after dog dies from overheating on an Alaska Airlines flight

Alaska Airlines pet policy says ‘the pet must stay in its carrier’   (Getty Images)
Alaska Airlines pet policy says ‘the pet must stay in its carrier’ (Getty Images)

A couple are calling for changes to be made to pet travel laws after their dog died on an Alaska Airlines plane while waiting to depart Hawaii’s high temperatures.

Frank, a four-year-old French bulldog, died of suspected dehydration and overheating in the tragic accident before a flight from Honolulu to Oregon on Sunday (30 June).

His Oregon-based owners Gary and Angie Engelgau claim airport personnel at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and Alaska Airlines staff denied their requests to let the “distressed” and panting dog out of his carrier.

Sadly, attempts to cool down the bulldog using ice once onboard the plane were too late.

Gary tearfully told KGW8: “I tried to get him out and I was shaking him he wasn’t moving.

“I pulled him out of the carrier and his eyes were open but his tongue was hanging out a little bit and he wasn’t moving or breathing.”

The couple, moving from Hawaii back to Oregon, was also travelling with Frank’s French bulldog sister Charlie and a 15-year-old beagle and chihuahua cross called Fawn.

Angie added that Hawaii “is not dog friendly”, with temperatures above 26C when they arrived at the Oahu airport at 10am.

The animals were only allowed out of their carriers to use the airport’s pet relief area – the owners claim that in no other outside spaces were the three dogs permitted to be let out.

Gary said the couple had eventually “broken the rules” and let the dogs outside in the shade with water for about 40 minutes before boarding the flight.

After Frank was discovered to be dead, the Engelgau family sat in their seats holding their other two dogs for the five and a half hour journey to Portland.

Alaska Airlines pet policy states: “The pet must stay in its carrier (including head and tail) with the door/flap secured at all times in the boarding area (during boarding and deplaning), Alaska Lounge, and while onboard the aircraft.”

The devastated owners are now calling for “some sort of change” to the law to prevent this from happening to other dogs while travelling by air.

A spokesperson for Alaska Airlines said in a statement to the outlet: “We take the care of pets flying with us seriously and we’re saddened by the reported loss of this guest’s pet.

“Our crew members followed their processes as it relates to pets on board aircraft and took extra care of the guests for the duration of the flight.”

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