Dogs are part of our families, and when we travel, we expect them to receive the same care and love as a person. However, United Airlines has recently made some huge mistakes regarding our four-legged family members.
Kara Swindle booked a United flight for the family’s move from the west coast to Kansas. The whole family, including her two kids and 10-year-old German shepherd, Irgo, were scheduled to fly to Kansas and arrive at the same time.
Once the flight landed in Kansas City, the family unloaded and headed to the United Airlines cargo facility to pick up Irgo. This was Irgo’s first flight, and the family was nervous because he was a senior dog. They were excited to see him and reassure him that everything was okay. However, when the family arrived and peered into the crate, they saw a great dane, not Irgo.
The family went into a state of panic over where Irgo could be. United did not have any answers for them, which made them worry even more. Swindle tells KCCI8, “They had no idea where the dog was. I burst into tears instantly, because this has just all been a whirlwind. They didn’t know [where Irgo was] until 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, when the plane landed in Japan.”
The great dane dog was suppose to arrive in Japan, not Irgo. Irgo was still in flight, and as soon as the plane landed in Japan, officials located him and assured the family he was safe. Irgo was checked by a veterinarian and scheduled on a flight back to Kansas. The Swindle family was distressed and concerned for their dog to make such a long trip back.
Swindle told KCTV5 News, “I don’t know if he’s going to be able to sustain this flight, because he is a 10-year-old dog, and he’s never been on a flight before. I honestly don’t know if he’s going to survive this flight.”
Their poor dog had not had any food or water on the 16-hour flight and needed his medication for an ear infection. After a vet checked him over in Japan, he was cleared to fly back to his family in Wichita. United apologized to the family. They agreed to have Irgo fly first class with a human escort after the family demanded he not be flown cargo.
Apparently, the two dogs’ crates were similar, and United told the family the mixup happened during the transfer in Denver. They are still investigating. A spokesperson for the airline issued this 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.”
Irgo has since been reunited with his family, and they could not be happier. Hopefully, United will start treating dogs less like baggage and more like the loving family members they are.
Watch the reunion below.
United Airlines has been making huge mistakes recently. Earlier this week, a flight attendant told a passenger to put her dog, who was in a carrier, into the overhead compartment, which resulted in the dog dying of suffocation. The airline has also recently changed their pet policy to allow only small dogs in the cabin that will fit in a carrier under the seat.
Click ‘next’ to read more about the dog who suffocated on a flight.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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