United Airlines Accidentally Sends Phoenix-Bound Dog to Ireland

By: Gawker Email
By: Gawker Email

(Gawker) - Talk about lost luggage: An English Springer Spaniel scheduled to fly in the cargo hold of a United Airlines plane bound for Phoenix somehow ended up on a flight to Ireland, instead.

Hendrix's owner, Edith Lombardo-Albach, was moving from New York to Arizona along with the rest of her family, so she booked a one-way flight to Phoenix for her pet, expecting United to take care of the rest.

But an unexplained "mix up" landed the dog on a different flight: One bound for Shannon, Ireland — 5,000 miles in the opposite direction.

"Somebody called me and told me that there was something wrong with the dog, and that the dog was on its way to Ireland instead of to Phoenix," Lombardo-Albach told CBS 2.

The call came just ten minutes before Hendrix was due to arrive at the airport.

"I felt like somebody punched me in the stomach. I mean, that's my dog. That's like my child," Edith's daughter Meredith Grant told ABC 15.

United promised Hendrix would be placed on the next flight out to Phoenix via Newark, and airline staffers would take care of the dog's every need in the meantime.

24 hours later, the dog was finally reunited with his family, but despite the happy ending and a full refund, Grant remains unsatisfied.

"I wasn't even looking for a refund. I just wanted somebody to say we screwed up," she said. "That's not what they said."

United hasn't apologized for the error or explained what caused it, but did release a statement saying the "circumstances surrounding the situation" were being reviewed and the company "will take steps to prevent this from happening again." The airline also insisted that "Hendrix's experience is not typical of the service we provide to the more than 100,000 pets who travel with us every year."

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