More news about United Airlines ‘pet circus’ this week as just at the time when German Shepherd Irgo was flying back to the U.S. on a private jet all the way from Japan, United diverted another one of their flights to offload an incorrectly loaded dog.
Yes the week literally had a lots of up’s and down’s for pets traveling on United Airlines. First a young French Bulldog died on board because flight attendants insisted on him being loaded into the overhead bin.
Then a ten year old German shepherd named Irgo found himself on a flight to Tokyo instead of Kansas City and was subsequently flown back to the U.S. on a private jet. And while all this was unfolding someone loaded yet another dog onto the wrong United flight which then got diverted to a nearby airport.
The repatriation of the German shepherd turned out to be a costly exercise for United as they eventually chartered a corporate jet to fly Irgo back to the U.S. after the airline had some disagreement with the owners of the dog about putting him on another 12 hour cargo ride. Probably thinking ‘before we have another animal death on our hands we pull out all stops’.
Looks like Irgo truly got the royal treatment on his ride back home:
As the Washington Post (access here) reported the carrier loaded someones dog onto the incorrect flight (oops, they did it again!) and when someone figured it out United diverted the flight to a nearby airport to reroute the animal.
A United flight from Newark to St. Louis was diverted Thursday after the airline learned it had an unauthorized passenger onboard: a dog. The pet was bound for Akron, Ohio, but was mistakenly loaded onto the St. Louis flight, company spokeswoman Natalie Noonan told The Washington Post on Saturday.
And so the plane followed the dog’s itinerary. Flight 3996 banked toward northeast Ohio after the airline “chose the fastest option to reunite the dog with his family,” Noonan said.
Passengers were provided compensation for the delay, Noonan said, but she declined to describe the compensation or confirm how many passengers were onboard. CNN reported 33. …
The company appears especially challenged by pet incidents. Last year, the airline, one of the largest in the world, carried about a quarter of the total number of animals transported by air in the United States, but it was responsible for 18 of 25 flight-related pet deaths last year, according to Transportation Department data.
Incredible. How hard is it to keep track and handle special cargo such as live animals in a civilized and professional manner?
Based on media reports United compensated all passengers on the diverted flight (who knows what peanuts they were offered knowing how stingy the carrier is these days?
All these mishaps are costing United a good amount of money and incur plenty of bad press. The advertising and marketing team must feel super frustrated as all their efforts to somehow market United in a positive light is being undermined by these constant incidents of dead, injured or mistreated passengers, be it two legged or four legged.
It’s a sad, sad state of affairs over at United. CNBC had commentator Jeff Sonnenfeld, Yale School of Management, on their show this week (access here) who said CEO Oscar Munoz has lost control of the company and has to go following a couple of disastrous management decisions.