Shepherd mistakenly flown to Japan by United returns on corporate jet

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A German shepherd, accidentally flown to Japan instead of his planned destination, returned back to the United States on Thursday evening. United Airlines flew the dog named Irgo back to his home on a private corporate jet; estimated to have cost more than $90,000.

Kara and Joseph Swindle’s 10-year-old German shepherd was supposed to be on a flight to Kansas City  – but on Tuesday, when they went to the cargo facility to pick him up, they were presented with someone else’s Great Dane. The Great Dane was supposed to be on a flight to Japan, but it appears that someone mixed up the kennels and shipped Irgo there instead. The airline issued a statement to KCTV News:

“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.”

In spite of all the confusion however, the Swindle family is more than delighted their dog is home. Late Thursday evening, Irgo arrived at the Wichita airport reports CbsNews.

United has apologized for the mix up, but the family wants more, and that includes a policy to make sure this kind of mistake doesn’t happen again. For four days, the family worried about their dog. There have not been any explanations from United how this happened, but to say the dogs were switched during their connection in Denver.

And of course,  United Airlines continues to cope with a public relations nightmare following the death of a puppy who was placed in an overhead storage compartment.

Read prior coverage here.

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Airline accidentally shipped family’s dog to Japan

7 replies
  1. Barkley's Mom says:

    Yes United how does something like this happen? With that kind of a stress on a 10 year old dog, is lucky the dog is still alive, older dogs don’t always cope too well with travel let alone all the way to Japan and back. They got lucky this time that the dog has seemingly suffered no ill effects.

  2. Helen says:

    It’s at least what United should do after their mixed up. $90,000. spent on the corporate jet is just a drop in the bucket. United could and should be sued for a lot more. I wondered what happened to the Great Dane?

  3. Michele Conte says:

    If the French Bulldog puppy’s death in an overhead luggage bin on a United Houston to NY flight had not happened last week, and had not gotten the public attention it did, I’m sure United would not have spent big bucks to get that Shepherd back to the U.S. fast — especially because the 10-yr-old Shepherd needed daily medication. “The Friendly Skies” would probably have put him on a slow boat instead. But United is looking HORRIFIC right now to any human who cares that pets are handled responsibly by airlines and other businesses. 24 pets died during air travel last year; 18 were on United Airlines! My butt will never touch a crammed UAL seat, with or without my dog traveling with me.

  4. Nancy Raymond says:

    United Airlines needs a complete overhaul as far as their procedures for transporting animals is concerned. Their reputation is beyond poor for the safety of animals – 18 died last year alone and they are on the road to going over this inexcusable rate. Their apologies and excuses mean nothing since this happens over and over. UA is one airline that will never see me on any flight until they DO SOMETHING about their crappy procedures and incompetent employees.


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