How Could This Happen?
Ask anyone who works at an airport and they will tell you the truth: Flying commercial is far worse for your pet than it is for you. Oftentimes your dog or cat is left outside for extended periods of time in cargo staging areas, and when you consider outside temperatures, this can be brutal on your beloved pet.
Unfortunately for Portland, OR resident Kathleen Considine, flying her seven-year-old dog from Detroit to Portland ended in tragedy. The saddest part is that it could have easily been avoided…
As a musician, I’ve traveled with instruments many times and heard horror stories about guitars being broken with little to no remorse or compensation by the airline. The way in which Kathleen’s case was handled is especially sad because it sounds like United Airlines treated her golden retriever like a piece of lost luggage. Now she’s taken to the media to call out United for their negligence and is petitioning for a massive change in policy across all airlines.
A Tough Trip
Most airlines require dogs to have a crate large enough that they’re able to at least turn around while inside. They also ask for enough food and water to make their scheduled trip as no one in the cargo bay of a plane is around to feed them.
Honestly, it really bites to be a dog on a plane.
If you’ve ever flown with a pet before, none of this information should be new to you, and airlines are fairly transparent of the policies and process by which they handle pets. They also recognize the necessity of the service and have certain standards for how they claim liabilities.
But in Kathleen’s case, United Airlines took some liberties with her pooch that ended up costing her its life…
A Shattered New Life
Kathleen had recently moved to Portland and settled into her new life there. After a while, she contacted her parents in Dearborn, MI—just outside of Detroit—so that they could ship her best friend, a seven-year-old retriever named Jacob.
They bought Jacob a one-way ticket to Portland. After following United Airlines’s protocols for flying a dog, which included getting a physical exam 24 hours prior to the flight, Jacob took off for his new home.
Or so they thought…