Four long days after United Airlines accidentally flew a family’s dog halfway across the world to Japan (just a day after forcing another dog into the overhead bin, an act that resulted in his death), the beloved German Shepherd was finally reunited with his family.
Kara and Joseph Swindle, along with their children – a 7-year old son and 2-year old daughter, are in the process of moving from Oregon to Wichita, Kansas. When they arrived in Kansas City via their United Airlines flight, the family went to the airline’s cargo facility to pick up Irgo, their 10-year-old German Shepherd.
Instead, the family were greeted by an unknown Great Dane.
“I walked over to the kennel and I called his name. And up popped this Great Dane instead of my German shepherd. And it was just instant tears because this wasn’t my dog and I had no idea where my dog was,” Swindle recalled to CBS.
Rather than face another public relations nightmare, and the risks associated with placing Irgo back into a kennel and into the cargo hold of another 13-hour flight back, United Airlines chartered a private jet to fly the German Shepherd back to his family – at an average cost of $90,000.
Despite the mix-up and several days of worry and anxiety, the Swindle family were thrilled to be reunited with Irgo at the Wichita, Kansas airport Thursday night.
United Airlines is still investigating how the mix-up occurred. They say the dogs were somehow switched during their connection in Denver.