Several dog owners coming back from the Westminster Dog Show in New York are outraged. They say Delta Airlines lost their show dogs at JFK Airport.
One of the lost dogs is Paris, a Standard Poodle. Taking the dog home to Seattle was the responsibility of the owner’s grandfather, Greg Gorder.
On Wednesday, as Groder was sitting on Delta’s non-stop flight from JFK to Sea-Tac Airport, he and other show dog owners on the flight didn’t see their dogs being loaded into the cargo hold of the Boeing-737.
“We suddenly realized our dogs aren’t on there, even though the stewardesses were telling us they were,” said Gorder.
One dog owner used his FlyDelta app – an app that allows passengers to track the location of their tagged luggage. He found out that some of the dogs had not been loaded onto the plane. The dog owners complained.
“We just wanted to establish that our dogs where still on there,” Groder said. “They couldn’t do it, wouldn’t do it.”
Sarah Pearce, a show dog owner, says their plane sat at the gate for an hour while the owners waited for an answer from Delta personnel about their dogs.
“Once they realized they couldn’t find our dog and had no idea where they put him, we had to get off the plane and wait until they could find them,” she said.
The owners were given the choice to either fly on without knowing where their dogs were, or take a later flight with their dogs. All the owners with dogs not accounted for got off the plane.
“They didn’t know where the dogs were, period,” said Gorder.
Pearce also says that the group waited four hours for Delta to deliver the dogs to them in the terminal. But one owner didn’t see her dog.
Jenny Dawson was traveling with her service dog inside the cabin and her show dog was supposed to be on board in her crate in the cargo hold. She was shocked to see Delta bring up the empty crate that was for her service dog.
“I had an empty crate and a crate with a dog in it, and they pulled off the crate with no dog,” said Dawson. Apparently, her show dog went on to Seattle on the plane. She gotoff the plane thinking her show dog was lost with the other dogs.
“I was livid,” she said. “It was like, really, can you not look in there and see there is no dog?”
Delta Airlines spokesman, Mike Thomas, says there was “limited space in the cargo compartment,” which prevented all the dogs from traveling on the same flight.”
He also said “the dogs remained in Delta’s constant care while the airline worked to re-accommodate both the customers and their animals.”
The airlines has apologized for the inconvenience. They have also given the dogs and their owners a free overnight stay at a hotel near JFK, a refund of their $200 dog fees, VIP service at the airport and seats for the dogs in the cabin for the return flight to Seattle.
“More pets go missing than the airlines like to admit,” said Airline Travel Industry Analyst Steve Danishek.
He suggests passengers traveling with their pets should try to fly on the same plane with their animals in the cargo compartment. Danishek also says it’s worth paying the extra for a non-stop flight rather than risking issues with your pets on connecting flights.
Source: KOMO News