Overheated dog dies on airplane in front of heartbroken family: ‘We want some sort of change’


An Oregon family was devastated after their dog died of overheating on an Alaska Airlines flight waiting to depart Oahu, Hawaii.

“Hawaii is not dog friendly,” Angie Engelgau told KGW8 while reflecting on the tragedy.

The freak accident occurred Sunday while she was waiting to fly home from Honolulu to Oregon with her husband Gary, their four-year-old French Bulldog Frank, his sister Charlie, and Fawn, their 15-year-old Beagle-Chihuahua. They had reportedly just moved to Oregon from the Aloha State and were eager to begin their new life.

“We’re bringing everything and our pets — and everyone,” said Gary, who grew up in Portland.

“He [Frank] is just panting and we kept asking the crew at the desk if we could take them out,” said Angie (right). instagram/allenetti

“He [Frank] is just panting and we kept asking the crew at the desk if we could take them out,” said Angie (right). instagram/allenetti

However, when the Oregonians arrived at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport at 10 a.m., temperatures had eclipsed 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They felt this put a strain on their canines, which were in kennels.

They asked if they could take their pets out of their kennels, but staffers rejected their request. Angie claimed that this was because animals are not allowed out of their carriers — except in the pet relief area — at the airport, which comprises a mix of indoor and outdoor areas.

It’s yet unclear if pets are allowed out of their cages however an airport spokesperson claimed that the airport “would not restrict access for this particular request.”

The family is calling on Alaska Airlines to make a change. instagram/allenetti

The family is calling on Alaska Airlines to make a change. instagram/allenetti

Despite this supposed policy, the Engelgaus claimed staffers denied their requests to let the dogs out even in outdoor spaces.

“We are just sitting at the gate waiting for our flight,” Angie said. “He [Frank] is just panting and we kept asking the crew at the desk if we could take them out.”

Left with no other recourse, the couple surreptitiously took them out of their kennels for a 40-minute recess, during which they gave the parched pooches water and kept them in the shade.

When they finally boarded the airplane, they asked Alaska Airlines flight attendants if they could take the dehydrated doggos out of their kennels, but the employees declined their request. Pets are required to stay in their cages in boarding areas, as well as during taxi, takeoff and landing, per AA policy.

Frank (right) was four years old. instagram/allenetti

Frank (right) was four years old. instagram/allenetti

The desperate dog owners tried to cool their bulldog down with ice, but it was too late — Frank was dead.

Gary said that the pup didn’t move even when he shook him and that his “eyes were open” when he pulled him out of the carrier. “His tongue was hanging out a little bit, and he wasn’t moving or breathing. That was it,” lamented the bereaved dog dad.

A tearful Angie attributed the pet’s death to the fact that they wouldn’t let him out of his kennel despite seeing that he was clearly in “distress.”

In light of Frank’s tragic end, the crestfallen woman is calling on the airlines to “make a change,” declaring: “I want to find whoever I need to find, to create a law that allows dogs to have a chance to live when traveling.”

In a statement, Alaska Airlines claimed that they while they the well-being of four-legged flyers seriously and were “saddened by the reported loss of this guest’s pet.”

However, they maintained that they followed the airline’s pet protocol to the letter and made sure to take extra care of them during the flight.

The Engelgaus described their deceased pooch as not “the smartest dog,” but a “good dog” nonetheless.

This isn’t the first time a pooch has passed away while flying between the Hawaiian Islands to the mainland US.

In 2022, a Hawaii couple announced plans to sue Hawaiian Airlines after their 1-year-old English pit bull died while traveling on a flight from Las Vegas back home to Honolulu.

While inflight pet deaths are exceedingly rare, they do unfortunately occur.

Between January 2015 and December 2020,  there were a total of 112 pet deaths reported by airlines to the Department of Transportation with over 40% occurring aboard United Airlines.



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