Now Delta Lost a Dog. After Four Flights, an Overnight, They Gave a Man Someone Else’s Puppy

Josh Schlaich got a call from an out of service number letting him know his dog — sent to him by a breeder — wasn’t going to make it. He called Delta several times to find out what happened and he was “hung up on.”

The voicemail said,

Hey, just wanted to let you know the dog’s flight has been delayed and the dog is going to stay the night here. …Here’s the number of a person who’s going to take care of it, his name is Chris. You need to call them if you want anymore information, thanks, bye.’

The dog was boarded for the night. The new flight arrived. And he was given the wrong dog.

It turns out that two puppies — littermates, actually — were shipped via Minneapolis to Boise on Saturday.

  • They were re-routed via Detroit.

  • They were separated.

  • One puppy went to Boise, the other went to Los Angeles or Las Vegas and then sent through a connection via Salt Lake City. It was crated over two days. The dog’s new owner said,

    We didn’t really know how it would be taken care of at the boarding facility. The dog has been in a crate for two days and it’s an 8-week-old puppy.

According to Delta “We know pets are important members of the family and apologize for the delayed shipment of a dog, which is now in the hands of its owner, after it was routed to the wrong destination.” They’ve refunded the dog’s shipping cost, as though that somehow makes up for the ordeal.

Although United is statistically much worse, their PR team is probably cheering that they can now say “it’s not just us.”

(HT: @RenesPoints)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Puppies shouldn’t be shipped like cargo in the first place. Go to a local breeder or pick up the puppy and fly with it yourself. If you wouldn’t trust the airlines to check your $2000 Vuitton bag, why would you do the same for a prized pet?

  2. Thoughts:
    1) Animals should stay home or in a zoo. Planes are not place for animals;
    2) How many pets were lost or killed before the existence of social media? I guess many more than what we see today but nobody ever talked about it
    3) I would not be surprised if the person that miss handled the dog at Delta used to work for United.

  3. I guess the real question is: How long before airlines realize the income from “shipping” pets is worth less than the PR hit from their x% of mistakes in shipping them?

  4. @ Santastico – If people follow established rules, or even just common sense, there is no reason why animals shouldn’t be allowed to fly. Next the argument will be that planes are not a place for babies. Should they also stay at home? (Hopefully, no one suggests they be put in a zoo).

  5. @Ray and @tommyleo are SPOT ON! Stop the puppy mill business. Get a rescue dog that would otherwise be put down.

  6. Delta and similar name brand airlines have no excuse for mishandling live cargo. FedEx, UPS, even the post office figured out package tracking decades ago. Use their system if you have to and assign the pets to crew members. 5 pets assigned to 5 cabin crew members. Tie a bright colored bag around their fingesr and match it to the same color attached to the pet carrier. Whatever, but try to restore confidence with the flying public that real airlines can transport pets and people better than a post office from the 1980’s. Or just lower your fares to match the “every other day service” discount airlines and then watch your share price climb, right.
    Try to fix this starting tonight…just try.

  7. Not to be too blunt about this, but what we’ve been seeing is merely a reflection of how awful airlines are at routing baggage. Obviously live animals are far more important than clothing and toiletries (the latter can show up a few days later and be no worse for the wear; hopefully you used a credit card that will make you whole). It’s not that UA is in the business of killing pets. It’s just that DL is, in general, fundamentally better at the logistics of getting things from point A to point B on time, while UA is a nightmare. I’m honestly a bit surprised (impressed, too) that AA hasn’t had a pet disaster. (admittedly, AA has a better track record of getting my luggage to my destination on time than me)

  8. I still don’t understand why people take their pets on vacation. It should be understood if you accept a pet your travel is limited.

  9. Passenger airlines need to get out of the business of moving animals end of story. leave the animals at home and if they need to be moved go get them yourself or have them moved by a company that specializes on moving animals.

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