Just a day after the United Airlines tragedy that resulted in the death of a 10-month old puppy forced to ride in the overhead compartment of a United Airlines flight, the airline is once again making headlines that have pet owners questioning whether to ever use the United PetSafe® program again.
A German Shepherd traveling via United Airlines from Oregon to Kansas City was mistakenly rerouted by the airline and flown halfway around the globe to Japan instead.
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.
Irgo was supposed to have flown in a kennel in the cargo hold of another United Airlines plane that arrived in Kansas City earlier that evening.
When the family were directed to his kennel, they, instead, found a Great Dane – not their German Shepherd – in a kennel that looked similar to the one the transport facility used for Irgo. Because of the mix-up, their family pet had been mistakenly flown to Japan, where the Great Dane had been scheduled to fly.
To make matters worse, because Irgo was sent on an international flight, the Swindles were told he may have to be quarantined in Japan for up to two weeks before he could be flown back to Kansas.
“I just want to know where my dog is,” Swindle told KCTV. “The fact that we don’t have any idea is the most frustrating part. He could be in Kansas City and we have no idea because the paperwork is all messed up. They have our paperwork here saying that this is the correct dog, but we know it’s not. It’s just horrible.”
A spokesperson for the airline issued a statement to KCTV5 News:
“An error occurred during connections in Denver for two pets sent to the wrong destinations. We have notified our customers that their pets have arrived safely and will arrange to return the pets to them as soon as possible. We apologize for this mistake and are following up with the vendor kennel where they were kept overnight to understand what happened.”
“At this point, all I can do is be hopeful that my dog is going to be OK and return safely,” Swindle said. “I don’t know what else to do at this point. I can’t cry anymore. I’ve cried too much.”
United Airlines paid for the Swindle family to stay at a Marriott Hotel near the airport Tuesday night. At this time, it is unclear when Irgo and the Great Dane will arrive at their correct destinations.