United Airlines hasn’t just come under criticism for how it treats its human passengers, it’s received recent attention for how it (mis)treats animals as well. The biggest story was that the airline reportedly locked the World’s Biggest Rabbit in a freezer for hours and them cremated it without permission.
And United just screwed up another pet transport. Fortunately the puppy is still alive. The reputation of United’s ‘PetSafe’ program may be another matter.
Kris Patrow-Ogle bought an 8 week old Airdale and had it shipped from Raleigh via Chicago to Minneapolis. She waited at baggage claim for two hours before United told her that her puppy wasn’t there.
The airline apparently had two dogs on the Raleigh – Chicago segment, and “sent the wrong dog to Minnesota.”
“The crates were marked, our dogs were really different, we had an Airbill and still they sent the dogs to the wrong cities,” Patrow-Ogle said.
Her dog went to Philadelphia. She asked United to have him flown directly to Minneapolis. Spirit, Delta, and American service that route non-stop. They told her it wouldn’t be possible. Instead the dog was flown via Houston. This involved an overnight.
I’m left to wonder, though, why the dog wasn’t flown Delta in the first place, with its two peak daily mainline non-stops. Delta indicates they accept pets as cargo on aircraft other than Boeing 767s and Airbus A330s. Delta even offers GPS tracking of pets for departures out of Atlanta; Cincinnati; Detroit; Los Angeles; New York LaGuardia; Kansas City; Memphis; Minneapolis; Seattle; San Francisco; Salt Lake City; St. Louis; and Tampa. Sadly this isn’t available from Raleigh.
My own dog was born in Oklahoma and flew United to DC back in 2002. He survived the journey — and remarkably the last 15 years in my care.
Stories like these though make me sympathetic to owners who claim their pets are emotional support animals so they can have their pet in cabin instead of shipping them as cargo.
United has apologized and refunded the pet shipping fee.