Details Emerge: Family Dog Dies on Alaska Airlines Hawaii Flight

Details Emerge: Family Dog Dies on Alaska Airlines Hawaii Flight

A terrible turn of events led to the death of a beloved French Bulldog for this family moving from Hawaii to Oregon. Frank, only 4 years old, died while waiting for the Alaska Airlines flight to depart from Honolulu to Oregon.

The unfortunate incident brings to mind the serious risks pets face when traveling, especially in the extreme heat of Hawaii summers, and how airport and airline policies may need to change when temperatures soar. There are many details just coming to light beyond what was written in a local publication, so read on for that.

The Incident on Alaska Airlines flight from Honolulu to Portland.

On Sunday, Gary and Angie Engelgau arrived at HNL with their three dogs of different ages, including Frank. The temperatures outside were warm, in the 80s, and despite their best efforts to keep the dogs cool, they faced numerous restrictions. According to the couple, they were denied multiple requests to take their dogs out of their carriers in the boarding area and while the plane was taxiing.

As they waited at the gate in preparation for Alaska Airlines Flight 834’s departure, they tried to cool their pet by keeping him in the shade and giving him water, but the rules required the dogs to remain in their carriers. Once on the plane, they continued to request permission to help Frank but were again told no. Tragically, despite their attempts to cool Frank with ice that they say was provided too late, he stopped breathing and died before the flight took off. The flight operated normally, nonetheless, departing Honolulu at 11:54am and arriving Portland at 8:33pm.

Dog owners’ call for change.

The Engelgaus are now calling for changes in airline policies to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future.

Significant new details from the dog’s owner emerge.

Gary and Angie Engelgau are grieving the loss of their beloved Frank, who they described as a “sweet, goofy and loving boy.” Frank was known for his playful nature, particularly his love for fetch, and his close bond with their other dog, Charlie. “We were so incredibly lucky to have had Frank in our family for 4 years… it just isn’t enough, and it is unfair that he’s not with us now!” Angie shared.

Anger and frustration arise over pet loss.

However, the family’s grief is compounded by anger and frustration over the circumstances leading to Frank’s death. They accuse Honolulu International Airport and Alaska Airlines of inhumane treatment, stating, “The truth is, he was murdered!” Angie recounted their ordeal, detailing how they were not allowed to take Frank out of his carrier in the hot airport, despite his obvious distress. Requests to lower the temperature on the plane were met with resistance and indifference. “The flight attendant could hear that our dog was in distress and would not let me take him out. I asked for ice THREE times,” Angie wrote. Unfortunately, their efforts were too late, and Frank passed away before the flight took off.

Alaska Airlines response.

Alaska Airlines issued a statement expressing their condolences and emphasizing the seriousness with which they take responsible pet travel, and their commitment going forward. The airline noted that their crew followed all procedures regarding pets on board and provided extra care to the family for the remainder of the flight.

Animal deaths during flights, while relatively rare, do occur. The U.S. DOT reports that over the past 12 months, six animals have died, and three others were injured on flights. For more detailed information, you can refer to the CDC’s official page on traveling with pets.

Historical context and broader implications

This incident is not isolated. Similar cases have been reported, including the death on a Hawaiian Airlines flight of a pit bull named Louis, due to suspected heat stroke​. These events highlight the need for better regulations and policies to protect pets during air travel, especially in hot climates like here in Hawaii.

This is a developing story, and we have followed up with Alaska Airlines’ officials for their comments.

Image courtesy Facebook.

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48 thoughts on “Details Emerge: Family Dog Dies on Alaska Airlines Hawaii Flight”

  1. Needless to say, I will not be flying Alaska airlines any longer and I am going to get rid of my Alaska Airlines credit card. This is a simple case of someone not using their common sense regardless of the rules. I’m sure the dog posed no threat to anyone or other passenger had it been let out of his carrier. People need to understand that sometimes there is a moral imperative that trumps the guidelines.

  2. This is truly unfortunate, but the owner is completely responsible for the dogs passing. They know the rules before they fly, and if that doesn’t work for them, they need to travel (or move) without their pets. It sounds as though the dog wasnt properly hydrated properly before boarding.
    A bit suspicious about “shade” as Alaska departs from an air conditioned terminal (2). And honestly, what person in their right mind wants a dog out of the crate during landing and takeoff, for any reason! Humans arent allowed around the cabin during the two most dangerous moments in any flight, and neither should animals! Alaska has always been great with us when flying our dog in cabin while always requiring the rules be observed.

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  3. if your pet is in distress You take him out, No one can tell you otherwise, just ignore them. Ultimately it is Your decision and no one else’s. your pet is more important than any airplane staff member or flight. laws also have to be changed that pets must be in aircooled rooms and NEVER on the outside, no flying in weather over 70 degrees or summer.

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    1. I beg to differ with you Dee when you say “if your pet is in distress You take him out, No one can tell you otherwise, just ignore them” The cabin crew has absolute authority over all beating hearts in that cabin. Cant respect the cabin crew, cant fly. End of story, and the safety of humans always prevails over animals!

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  4. Other airline such as AA does not allow snubnose dogs on its flights whether onboard or in cargo. Perhaps AS needs to update its procedures to exclude these animals from its flights. Also, animals are not carried in cargo if temperates rise above 85 degrees at the orgin or destination of yhe flight.

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  5. People, need to leave there animals at home. It’s ridiculous, I have allergy’s and don’t want to sit by some dumb animal!!

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  6. It is an owners responsiblity to be sure that the temperatures are safe for their dog. Brachycelphalic (snub nose dogs) should not fly. They overheat easily due to resstricted airway. If you must fly with your Snub nose dog. Then purchse a cooling coat and be sure it is wet and cool. Be sure to get ice as soon as you board or in the waiting area.
    You can take a frozen ice pack on board with you. put it into the carrier. Be sure your Carrier is fully ventilated.
    Any dog can overheat in a small space such as a carrier.

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  7. Sorry for the loss. Hey Jeff and Rob just wanted to wish you a happy 4th of July and let the firework display at the Royal Hawaiian village resemble a sparkle of life for each and every local, Native Hawaiian, and of course all the tourists on vacation enjoying the display. I thought you would post some kind of Hawaii celebration event or activity for all of us main landers to enjoy!!!! Again Happy 4th and stay safe.

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