United Airlines had a rough week when it’s come to dogs on flights.
On Wednesday, United unexpectedly shipped a Kansas-bound dog all the way across the world to Japan, CNN reported.
Kara Swindle and her family went to find their German Shepherd named Irgo when they arrived in Kansas City, but only found a Great Dane in their pet’s place, according to KCTV 5.
Both Irgo and the Great Dane briefly stopped over in Denver, where they were sent on connecting flights. However, the dogs ended up on the wrong flights.
"They had no idea where the dog was," Swindle told CNN. "I burst into tears instantly because this has just all been a whirlwind. They didn't know (where Irgo was) until 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday when the plane landed in Japan."
I don’t understand how things like this happen.. my poor irgy is now sitting in Japan because of United Airlines, Denver International Airport’s & Paradise 4 Paws Denver’s screw up..
The dog was found OK in Japan.
But Swindle said Irgo didn’t have any water or food for the 16-hour flight to Japan. She said her dog also has an ear infection but didn't have any medication for the three days the pet has been in Japan.
United Airlines issued an apology over the incident, as reported by The Huffington Post.
"An error occurred during connections in Denver for two pets sent to the wrong destinations. We have notified our customers that their pets have arrived safely and will arrange to return the pets to them as soon as possible. We apologize for this mistake and are following up with the vendor kennel where they were kept overnight to understand what happened," the airline said
United plans to send Irgo from Narita, Japan, to Wichita, Kansas, on Thursday. He will be flown to Denver and then Wichita.
As CBS News reported, the airline recently changed its pet policy to disallow pets in the aircraft cabin. Only small dogs who can fit inside a carrier underneath the seat are allowed.
United faced criticism earlier this week after a family’s pet died in an overhead bin aboard one of the airline's flights, according to NPR.
A flight attendant allegedly arranged for the family to place their 10-month-old bulldog in the overhead bin, even though the family wasn’t breaking any rules with having the pet onboard the plane.
The pet died during the three-hour trip from Houston to New York.
United accepted full responsibility, according to a statement sent to NPR.
"This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin. We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them. We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again."