United Airlines has a horrible reputation transporting pets, whether it’s sending dogs to the wrong city, or keeping them unsafely on the tarmac for hours. They even, apparently, locked the world’s biggest rabbit in a freezer for hours and then cremated it without permission.
So it doesn’t surprise me that they don’t seem to do much better with dead bodies, either, at least if the tragic saga of Alma Sanchez is any indication.
Ms. Sanchez was killed in a highway accident 3 weeks ago three weeks ago in Texas. She was born in Houston but her family is in Mexico. Her co-workers raised $7000 so that her body could be sent to her family for burial. Then arrangements were made with United Airlines.
The woman’s remains were accepted for shipment by United, but “when employees of a funeral home in Mexico City went to pick up the body, they were told the paperwork was not there and they couldn’t take the body.”
The first story was the body was there, but United was going to keep it because they had lost the paperwork.
The second story was “that the woman’s body was actually sent to the wrong city.”
And for the next three days, Sanchez’s friend and co-worker Graciela Gonzalez said she got multiple stories from United Airlines about why the body couldn’t be picked up.
…”Her body is in Guadalajara, but no actually her documents are in Guadalajara, we’re gonna swap the bodies,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said while United tried to find the paperwork, Sanchez’s family had to delay the funeral.
In fact the body was there the whole time. And eventually United decided to give the woman’s family her remains, even though they hadn’t found
the TPS reports the required documentation.
Just as United’s pet shipping program that loses pets is called ‘PetSafe’ their program for shipping human remains is called ‘TrustUA’.
United provided a statement to local Texas media,
Upon learning that we had sent inaccurate documents to Mexico City, we acted with urgency to provide corrected information. We have extended our deepest apologies to the family and provided a full refund.
It seems United’s idea of ‘urgency’ differs from that of Ms. Sanchez’s family, in so far as they had to postpone the funeral thanks to the lost paperwork.