Friday, March 18, 2011

Delta Airlines Loses More Dogs

Delta Airlines Loses More Dogs
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."

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