Airline turned away man and dog

Airline turned away man with dog – man went home to ride out storm with pet

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A Florida man who hoped to get out of the destructive path of Hurricane Irma went to the airport with his beloved dog, hoping to catch a flight to anywhere outside of the danger zone. According to the Huffington Post, because the dog was not in a carrier, the man was turned away.

Matt Varga, owner of “Meeka,” had tried to find a pet carrier, but every store that he visited (10!!) was sold out. In a Facebook post, Varga’s sister blasted the airline for their apparent lack of compassion in a time of crisis:

American Airlines My brother Matt Varga had a ticket to evacuate Irma and was denied boarding because he didn’t have a standard pet carrier. Glad that American Airlines has a heart for people (and their precious puppies) in Miami.

Unlike Cynthia Anderson, the Florida woman who drowned her puppy in an airport toilet after an airline refused to let her board the plane with him, Varga decided to stick with his pet and go home to ride out the storm.

Best of luck Matt and Meeka!!

(Image screenshot via CNN)

More news and updates at the National Animal News Facebook page.

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25 replies
  1. maxiemom says:

    UNBELIEVABLE!!! If Meeka were the size of a Saint Bernard or another large breed,that would be one thing. However, we’re talking about a dog who could sit in her Daddy’s lap here, and I’m guessing that he would GLADLY allow her to do so to get them both out of the storm!

    He had a ticket, which was undoubtedly very expensive, as they ALL are right now (premium prices), and this is a life or death emergency! Do the people running this airline have hearts or anything resembling compassion?

    What is it with these martinets in charge of motel rooms and airline flights in times of national emergencies? Does congress need to start passing laws addressing the lack of humanity in industries that are necessary for saving lives here?

    Reply
      • tina says:

        I’m sure that’s not what she meant. Anyone owning a Saint Bernard would know that they wouldn’t be allowed on a flight, but, someone with a much smaller dog would hope the airlines could make an exception since the dog could easily sit on their lap.

    • Dawn markey says:

      Yes, I believe they do. But as long as it takes Congress to get legislation passed, tragic episodes such as this will continue. We-the public, needs to outright refuse to have anything more to do with any institutions that make such poor choices that put the populace and the animals lives in jeopardy during times such as this. Once we are made aware of how they conduct themselves, and now due to social media, we can speak in a loud and coherent voice as to what we find unacceptable.

      Reply
    • Karen says:

      This is what applying rules to the “nth degree” results in …. rigidity that hurts us all. No one is capable of making a decision but simply hide behind “rules”. God protect this man and his dog, and American Airlines, I stopped flying you years ago when you charged full fare for me to attend my mothers funeral, no longer offering discounted fares as you once did under “bereavement fares”. You need to give your staff some discretionary judgement!

      Reply
  2. S wallace says:

    I hope everyome has seen this and that someone has offered them a ride out of town. Airlines couldnt come up with a carrier or some other box? I hope they are safe.

    Reply
    • Ruby says:

      They would have had to drive out of town well before they tried to board a flight. If they had started driving that same day, they’d be heading right into the path of the hurricane since it has not shifted its track to aim at Tampa.

      Reply
  3. Cynthia Como says:

    These airlines claim to care about people and animals…..THAT IS A LIE!!!! They only care about money and are uncompassionate and rude! U could be taking ur last breath and they would not care or bend a rule for the sake of being kind or compassionate or humane. I could see if it was something like a security issue but this is flat out RIDICULOUS!!! Look at how small Meeka is. The airline industry need humans and humans need the airline industry but unfortunately they fail to see that and are always quick AFTER THE FACT to want to apologize and to make it up via of a payoff. Personally I loathe everything about them! I will be keeping Matt Varga and Meeka in my prayers,they are gonna need it! SMH

    Reply
  4. Barkley's Mom says:

    Again, American Airlines, the airline with a “heart”! NOT! You would think they could bend the rules for someone in a crisis like this. Meeka certainly could have sat on his lap, and most likely on the way back home he would have been able to procure a carrier! I pray for Matt Varga and Meeka that nothing happens to them!

    Reply
  5. Mary Ann Clark says:

    Please keep us updated on how they are doing! Shame on the airline for acting so cruaelly during this life or death situation!

    Reply
  6. ellen cottone says:

    and thats why at roughly 6 : 30 pm eastern standard the on 9/7 the unbelievable happened. some other guy quick to the draw got the hell out of Florida. that man got as far as Memphis Tennessee just as far as he could get on the gouging airline ticket.
    and the airline chose to abandon a man and a small erp. “Well behaved ” little dog.
    shame, shame, shame.

    Reply
  7. ellen cottone says:

    he should have taken his back pack cut 2 holes on the bottom 2 holes in the front slip him on like a back pack in the front and said there thats it.
    contained .
    done, let us on. done, whats the problem. ??
    hes a baby ! hes my baby . let me get my baby to safety.
    have mercy on me and my child.
    we want out .
    now,

    Reply
  8. Linda Szymoniak says:

    My daughter drove up to NW Indiana from Florida with her dog and two cats. It was hard and stressful, but they are safe here and since the duplex she rents looks to be right in the middle of Hurricane Irma’s path, I’m glad she did. I really hope this man and his sweet dog will be okay. Cudos to him for staying with his dog. Some people would have left the dog and taken the flight by themselves. Prayers for these two and any other humans and animals still at risk from the storm.

    Reply
  9. ellen cottone says:

    incidentally when this man and his dog decided it was time. he went to 10 different stores and crates were sold out.
    getting more and more desperate and time running out he he went to the airport for help and passage anywhere.
    that was thurs nite.
    a full 24 hrs before panic and and Kaos and desperation set in as familys and singles
    Praying for passage anywhere for any flight any where.
    what was the airline thinking?
    now a boy and his dog go back to a state mandated evacuation danger zone and drives back home thru a ghost town to be in the very place the Mayor of his state
    hopes and prays no one will be.
    he is in great danger.
    they are in for the adventure of a life time. let’s all hold a picture in our mind for a vivid second.
    of the sun shining on their faces and both safe and both together.
    thanking God for his mercy at 5:56 Monday morning.and rescue tues.

    now you stay alive boy and dog and you strap your self together. and you stay alive. You will stand up to Irma and defeat the beast.
    no thanks to an airport. who would not acomidate a boy and his dog in the Mitts of an unprecedented earth shaking catastrophic natural event .
    one only weeks after a solar eclipse in the very region of the point of totality.
    what were they thinking?

    Reply
  10. Nancy Raymond says:

    Another example of an airlines whose priorities are out of whack especially with a huge storm encroaching on Florida – I applaud Mr. Varga for HIS priorities being the safety and welfare of Meeka. To deny him and his dog the chance to get to safe ground American Airlines once again proved their lack of compassion and responsibility to ensure all are helped. I hope Mr. Varga and Meeka stay safe – No Thanks to American Airlines.

    Reply

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