Not the best couple of days for United.

Yesterday United was rightly drug through the wringer due to the unfortunate command of a flight attendant which led to the death of a dog.  Gary Leff covered the story well so I won’t contribute to the calamity any further.  United, to its credit, immediately acknowledged that they were in the wrong in the following statement:

This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin. We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them. We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again.

Well today reports are coming in that United confused two pet carriers and sent a German Shepherd on quite the journey.  CBS reports that a family flying from Oregon to Kansas City checked their 10-year old German Shepherd as cargo on their flight.  When they arrived in Kansas City and went to a cargo facility to pick up their pet they instead found a Great Dane.  As you can guess, the Great Dane was supposed to go to Japan but the dog kennels were accidentally switched.

United, again to their credit, responded quickly with the following statement:

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.

Tough days for an airline trying to repair its reputation with its customers.  It’s especially tough for the flying public because it foments mistrust in an airline’s ability to safely transport pets in the cargo hold, leading to more and more people claiming Emotional Support status for their pets to ride in the cabin.  It’s a tough situation for the airlines as well as consumers but, hopefully, incidents like this will drive change for the better of both parties.

Most importantly, here’s hoping the dogs in question will be cared for and returned safely to their owners as soon as possible.


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