March 16, 2013
According to ABC World News, a New York English Springer named Hendrix took an accidental plane trip from New Jersey to Ireland on March 14. Hendrix is the six-year-old family dog belonging to Edith Lombardo-Albach of Staten Island, N.Y.
Hendrix was originally put on a United Airlines flight out of Liberty Newark International Airport on Thursday. He was due to arrive at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona around 9:45 p.m. Thursday evening.
Seven minutes before Hendrix was scheduled to land in Phoenix, Lombardo-Albach got a phone call from United telling her the dog wouldn’t be on the flight. According to her interview with Diane Sawyer, she told the ABC reporter “Originally, I thought the dog had died and I started screaming,”
As it turned out, Hendrix was mistakenly put on a flight to Shannon, Ireland.
Her daughter, Meredith Grant, had taken an earlier flight to Phoenix via U.S. Airways, who wouldn’t allow the dog to fly with her. The family is in the process of moving from New York to Arizona.
Hendrix endured a seven-hour flight to Ireland, then had a two-hour layover where he was cleaned, walked and fed by United Airlines employees before being put back on a returning flight to Newark. Edith was waiting for him when he arrived from the seven-hour return flight.’
Edith spent the day with Hendrix, and he was put on a Phoenix-bound flight at 5 p.m. on Friday. He made quite a fuss when he learned he had to go back into his carrier for another flight.
United Airlines offered to refund the ticket charges for Hendrix, and the airline is reviewing the circumstances of the situation to prevent it from happening again. United flies approximately 100,000 pets a year.
Lombardo-Albach said during the interview with ABC News that “This was a major failure on United’s part. I can’t believe that somebody would be so stupid. He’s a member of my family and they nearly left him. And if this person doesn’t lose their job, I mean, there are going to be problems.”
Megan McCarthy, spokesperson for United Airlines said in a statement that the airline regretted the error.
Lombardo-Albach wants United to be held accountable so no other pets are accidentally put on the wrong flight.