The safety of flying pets as cargo has been under scrutiny for quite a while with horror story after horror story popping up of animals dying.
At the end of 2019, a French bulldog died of heatstroke while flying as cargo, followed by the 2020 reports of 38 dead puppies found in the cargo of one plane, and another puppy being killed on a Delta flight.
Sadly, stories of tragedy and loss are too common when it comes to flying with pets, and one woman has taken to TikTok to share her “nightmare” experience with American Airlines after the company lost her two cats.
In the caption, she added that the cats had already been in the kennel for 14 hours because of a canceled flight, so needless to say, she was extremely stressed about their wellbeing.
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It wasn’t long before her video went viral and was viewed 4.8 million times. Many people commented their frustration at her situation and tried to show their support of her.
Ariel shared a series of follow-up videos explaining that she’d been moving from Los Angeles to New York for grad school. Her two cats are rescues and are extremely anxious. One doesn’t even like to be handled.
After weighing her options carefully, she came up with two choices: Take her cats in the car for a multi-day road trip, or ship them in cargo on a plane for a somewhat quick flight. Ultimately, she decided the cargo would be the best option, but she never expected the airline to be so careless with her pets.
Ariel explained that she was taking a Delta flight that was scheduled to arrive in New York before her cats flew in with American Airlines so she could pick them up with plenty of time. Unfortunately, as soon as Ariel was on her flight to New York, she started receiving text messages that her cats’ flight was delayed. Eventually, their flight was canceled altogether and they were put on a new flight which was also delayed.
American Airlines reportedly called Ariel and explained that her cats would be at the airport at 9:00 PM in terminal four, but when Ariel arrived to get them, they were nowhere to be found. Apparently, the cats were actually supposed to be at terminal eight, but they weren’t there either.
It was nearly 10:00 PM at that point, and Ariel still didn’t know where her cats were or if they were even alive. Eventually, her cats were brought out and though they were extremely stressed, they were both breathing and alive.
Speaking with the Daily Dot, Ariel noted that she paid over $700 for her cats’ transportation with American Airlines and they didn’t even apologize for the delays and confusion.
She said, “While I understand mistakes happen, the bare minimum American could have done was apologize. I paid over $700 for the safe transportation of my cats and have not received an apology, explanation, or offer of compensation.”
Thankfully, she shared on TikTok that her cats are doing okay after the ordeal, though one of them is still “hiding” and acting anxious.
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