Boycott Delta Airlines
Earlier this year, Delta Airlines lost a dog who was supposed to be flown from Mexico City to Detroit. Then they made headlines for mixing up a couple of kids and sending them to the wrong city. And then they managed to send a puppy from Atlanta to California, instead of Maine. As if three strikes weren't enough, last week they once again created travel chaos, with the end result of one dog forced to fly several unplanned flights and another dog dead.
Michelle Reid and her kids recently returned to the states from nearly two years in Germany, where her husband is working with the U.S. army. Last week, the family's two dogs — Guinness, an English bulldog, and Lola, a shih tzu — were supposed to join them. Having flown overseas when the family first moved, the dogs were veterans and, after all the necessary health checks, and following Delta's "happy, healthy, jet-set pets" guidelines, the dogs were loaded up for the first leg of their trip.
When the dogs landed in Atlanta from Stuttgart, Guinness was found unresponsive. The family is awaiting necropsy results to understand what killed their healthy, 6-year-old dog. Lola was held over in Atlanta as a precaution, her flight to Seattle re-booked for the next morning.
But instead of flying to Seattle, Lola was put on a plane to Dallas. Then she was supposed to be flown to Spokane, via Salt Lake City. Yet, when she stopped in Utah, she ended up on the wrong flight to Seattle.
This isn't Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?; this is a real family who had no idea where their dog would end up next, or when she would make it home, after just learning of the death of their other dog. After her original international flight, it took Lola four more flights in one day to make it home. I don't know any human whose patience could withstand that; I can't imagine what it would be like for a dog being shuffled from cargo hold to cargo hold.
"All four airports were aware of the loss of Guinness," said Michelle. "You would think all four would take the time to make sure everything would go without complication for Lola."
Like the other people who have been victims of Delta's disorganization, it's been difficult for Michelle to get any answers. Nearly a week later, she's still getting the run-around, with no new information about what went wrong with her dogs. "Even following the rules to the best you can," Michelle said, "you never know exactly how your furry family is going to actually be treated during travel."
After the uproar surrounding Paco, the dog lost in Mexico City, Delta's General Manager of Baggage Service Recovery blogged that they "take pet travel very seriously and do everything possible to ensure that all animals travel safely and securely." Their track record says otherwise.
Nothing can bring Guinness back or undo the stress that the Reid family endured, but Michelle says she's made it her mission to make sure so no one else has to go through what happened to her family.
Tell Delta Airlines to take responsibility for these lost dogs and take immediate steps to prevent history from repeating itself. Again.
Update: In November 2010, more problems were reported with Delta transporting dogs. While flying a family's two dogs from Germany to Washington state, via Atlanta, one died en route and the other was "misrouted" several times before finally being reunited with her family.
The fact that Delta could so egregiously mishandle a dog after the loss of her companion and all the publicity around the other cases of incompetent animal transport shows that they are not committed to safe pet travel. Delta Airlines needs to investigate these cases, as well as conduct a review to update their policies and procedures around animal transport.
View Petitions Start a Petition Delta Airlines Loses More Dogs
her, on January 4, 2011 at 10:59 AM said:
Uppity, the Petition link has expired, but here are links for:
1. Text of the petition letter:
2. Email to try for Richard H. Anderson, CEO, Delta Airlines — email@example.com
3. Site page with Contact Information for several Delta “Customer Care” Contacts (going through their site’s complaint process is a bs hassle):
djmm, on January 4, 2011 at 9:49 PM said:
I hope her beloved Patch is found. I left a message for her owner. Continental allows 2 small pets (such as small dog or a cat) with their owners per cabin in soft carriers (like Sherpa that will fit under the seat in front of their owners on their flights), at a price. It is worth it to have your pets with you at all times. You have to take them out of the carrier and walk through the metal detectors with them, of course, while the carrier goes through the x-ray machine.
I checked at Continental 6 months ago and they still had allowed 2 small pets per cabin. I believe a doxie would qualify. Continental has weight limits for the cabin flying pets and require a vet certificate of good health within 10 days of flight (and a fee), but they have never checked the weight of my (slightly) fat cats!