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A Bad Pet Week for United As There Is Another Dog Incident

United miles
Written by Charlie

Another dog incident brings the bad pet week total to 3 incidents for United Airlines. From sending a dog to the wrong country (and flying it back in a private jet), to diverting for a dog, to a dog dying onboard, it has not been a good week for United Airlines and how they deal with dogs.

United had a bad customer service appearance last year with the passenger dragging incident and they used that incident to promise that they would be more customer friendly and not involve police for situations like that.

A Bad Pet Week for United As There Is Another Dog Incident

It seems that United has now moved in to the dog arena as there were 3 incidents this week alone that raised a lot of anger among the human customers. The third such situation just occurred last night and it will certainly force United to be more careful with their handling of pets in the future. It will also likely cause customers to think twice before bringing their pets/sending their pets aboard airplanes.

First Incident – The Dog That Died

On Monday, a flight attendant made a family put their dog carrier in the overhead bin for the flight from Houston to New York. Sometime during the second half of that three hour flight, the dog, a French bulldog, passed away in the confined space. The family did not know that until the flight landed and they opened the carrier to check on their pet.

This prompted a lot of outrage, even rising to the level of a US Senator who asked for an explanation about what had happened. If you want to see a video about this, check this website. I am not including it or the photos here as they can be quite disturbing to pet lovers (though if you heard about this story, I am sure you have seen the photos).

Second Incident – The Dog Shipped to Japan Instead of Kansas

On Tuesday, United sent a German Shepherd to Japan instead of to his waiting family in Kansas. When the family went to pick up their dog, they were surprised to find a Great Dane in its place. The two dogs had been mixed up and sent to the other’s home city. The Kansas dog arrived back with his owners on Thursday.

Because the family insisted they did not trust the United cargo process to get their back to them, United ended up putting Irgo the dog on a United corporate jet for the comfy flight back to Kansas. The family had sent the dog on ahead from Oregon to Kansas in preparation for their move.

Third Incident – The Dog Mixup That Caused a Diverted Flight

And that brings us to the flight last night, a flight going from Newark to St. Louis. The flight had to be diverted to Akron, Ohio when it was discovered that a dog was accidentally sent on that flight. The dog was supposed to go to Akron so the airline made a diversion to drop the dog off.

Of course, this was an inconvenience to the 33 passengers onboard and United said compensation was offered to those passengers. This is certainly a case of United trying to curb another terrible incident with sending a dog to the wrong location since such diversions and compensations for passengers are not cheap.


I have never taken a pet onboard or sent a pet on a plane. If I were to take a pet onboard, I would really have to think twice about doing it with United Airlines. Not only have they caused these problems but they also charge a fee for the transport of these pets – either in the cabin or not.

I am sure that United is going to make some serious adjustments to their pet policy so things will likely get better. In the meantime, what in the world is going on with United and pets?!?!?!

Featured image courtesy Markus Mainka /

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.