United Airlines has proven once again that it is the master of messy PR, when it emerged that a dog travelling with its owner between Houston and New York died after having to fly in an overhead locker. 

Whilst the facts are still unclear, it appears that the dog's owner was told by United staff to put the family pet in the locker for the three hour flight.

The incident follows the forcible removal of a passenger on an overbooked flight this time last year. 

To forcibly remove a passenger and have it filmed is one thing, but to kill their dog is entirely in a different league. 

And again, it appears that its PR machine was found wanting. 

United was quick to apologise, but the apology showed no warmth or empathy.  It was as if it was penned by a lawyer rather than a PR, and certainly by someone who has never owned a dog.  

Admittedly, United is damned whatever it says.  But surely its presumably well-paid PR team should be doing better