United Airlines has apologised for mistakenly shipping an American family’s pet dog thousands of miles in the wrong direction to Japan.
Dog owner Kara Swindle’s beloved 10-year-old German Shepherd named Irgo took an unexpected 16-hour plus flight to Tokyo on 13 March following a mix-up by the airline.
The Swindle family, who are currently in the process of moving from Salem, Oregon, were meant to be reunited with the pet in their new home city of Wichita, Kansas.
But when they arrived at the United Airlines cargo facility in the Midwestern US state they found a stranger’s Great Dane puppy waiting in Irgo’s place.
Both of the dogs had been sent to the wrong destinations on connecting flights from Denver, Colorado, with Irgo mistakenly being sent to the Pacific Ocean island nation instead of the Great Dane.
“I don’t understand how things like this happen,” an irate Ms Swindle posted on Facebook. “I am just in complete awe. I don’t understand how you can mix things up like this.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous, he is now awaiting a 16-hour flight back to Wichita now.”
“I couldn’t believe it at all!” she continued. “Wrong kennel, wrong dog, wrong everything!!!! People weren’t doing there job at all!”
A vet gave Irgo a check over when he arrived at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport before the canine was sent back to the US on a private charter jet.
“I’m so glad he’s alive and coming home soon!” said a relieved Ms Swindle who vowed she would “never fly United again”.
The American airline, which came under fire this week over the death of a passenger’s dog placed in an overhead locker, apologised for the incident.
“An error occurred during connections in Denver and we have notified our customers that their pets arrived safely and will arrange to return the pets to them as soon as possible,” a spokesperson said.
“We apologised for this mistake and are following up with the vendor kennel where they were kept overnight to understand what happened.”
In January, an artist was turned away from boarding a United Airlines flight with her “emotional support peacock” over health and safety concerns.