Is There a Vet On Board? Dog Bites Two on US Airways Flight

Small dog forces jetliner to make unscheduled landing.

ByABC News
December 6, 2010, 2:11 PM

Dec. 6, 2010 — -- You can add dog bites to the list of things passengers and flight attendants have to contend with at 30,000 feet.

That was the case this morning on board US Airways flight 522 when a small dog described as a terrier travelling in the passenger cabin was let out of its carrier by its elderly owner. The dog promptly bit a passenger and a flight attendant.

US Airways said that the passenger was expressly told not to open the carrier door.

According to flight tracking website the plane was west of Pittsburgh when the pilot of the Airbus A319 decided to divert the Phoenix-bound plane to Pittsburgh International Airport because of the canine bites. A US Airways spokesperson described the diversion as precautionary and said the captain did not declare an emergency.

Upon landing in Pittsburgh the plane taxied to a US Airways gate where it was met by law enforcement officials and the fire department. An airport spokesperson tells ABC News the dog, whose breed was not immediately known, and its owner were deplaned and interviewed before being released.

Once the dog and its owner were off the plane the flight continued to Phoenix without them. JoAnn Jenny, a spokeswoman with the Pittsburgh International Airport, said the dog and its owner were later released to board another plane to Phoenix.

Airlines, including US Airways, United, and American Airlines, limit the number and type of pets allowed in cabins. Those banned from carry-on travel in the belly of the plane, where kennels are placed in a special pressurized and temperature-controlled section of the plane. In the winter, airlines may require documentation certifying that your pet is acclimated to temperatures lower than 45 degrees.