Russian airline Aeroflot has become a target for social media criticism yet again after two cats were killed and another diagnosed with frostbite after flying from New York to Moscow in the plane’s cargo hold.
The fatal incident is the latest blow to the airline’s public image after it stripped the airline miles from a passenger who snuck his overweight cat into the cabin because he feared the cat wouldn’t survive a trip in the cargo hold.
After the cats’ deaths, Russian users took to Aeroflot’s social media pages to leave negative comments, many of which were deleted. Soon, the comments transformed into a flashmob of photos showing pets in suitcases next to a sign saying “I’m not baggage. I’m a passenger!”
Here’s a look at some of the pets who stood together in solidarity:
"'Your dog is a suitcase for us, @aeroflot says. And this is not a problem for Aeroflot alone. This is the general approach to passengers with pets."
"'Your dog is baggage for us' @aeroflot thinks, but for some, a dog is a living, loving, feeling family member. @svo_airport perhaps it’s enough for killing?"
“There will be no discussions about the inadmissibility of the situation with Aeroflot… I [never] register my dogs as baggage.”
“We demand decisive action from air carriers and airports to prevent such horror in the future!”
Some users told their stories of animal cruelty during flights and called for actions to be taken to hold airlines accountable for pets' safety.
“After my experience, I started shouting about bad attitude toward animals and their owners during the flight to encourage people not to be silent and to call the airline and airport for responsibility.”
“A question for the Aeroflot employees who did this — are you human beings?”
“Cruelty can't be justified by orders and regulations. Why do they begin to act and change something only after something irreparable happens?”
“I’m not baggage. I’m a passenger and a friend”