A Roanoke woman has been reunited with her dog, Roast Beast, after she says the airline lost the pet.
Amber Dalton and Beast were flying American Airlines from San Francisco to Raleigh, with a layover scheduled in Chicago. Beast would be placed in the cargo hold during the trip.
Before leaving San Francisco, airline staff told her the flight to Chicago wasn’t safe for the dog, so they switched her to one through Dallas instead.
Once she landed at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, she went to pick up her dog.
“And I asked, ‘Hey where can I pick up my pet?’ Oversized baggage,” she said. “So I go over and I wait and no pet. And at this point, I’m like, ‘OK, something’s not right here.”
She says they scanned her baggage tag and determined the dog was on the flight from Chicago. Dalton waited for the Chicago flight to land in Raleigh, but the dog wasn’t on that plane either.
“At this point, I’m getting really upset because this is twice that my dog should have landed and it’s been over an hour and he’s still not here.”
The staff did not know where Dalton’s pet was and they started calling around. Hours later they discovered he was flown to Philadelphia.
The pair was separated for 33 hours.
“You wouldn’t lose a child. I know people don’t want to think that. But these are our kids. These are our family members. I wouldn’t put a family member under the cargo and slap a luggage tag on him.”
Beast spent the night in Philadelphia, was flown to Raleigh Wednesday morning, and then was driven to his owner in Roanoke. Dalton finally got to see him Wednesday afternoon.
After the situation, Dalton did get a flight voucher and a refund for her animal. American Airline representatives also said they will be in contact to provide her with more information and a personal apology.
“All of the money doesn’t fix the next incident that could possibly be deadly,” she said.
American Airlines has released the following statement in response to the incident:
American Airlines takes the well-being of our four-legged passengers very seriously. As a result, we weren’t able to reunite a checked pet with their owner yesterday on a trip from San Francisco (SFO) to Raleigh-Durham (RDU). To ensure the safety and health of animals we transport, our policies regulate the types of aircraft, weather conditions and locations that can be used. A conflict in our customer’s routing and policies caused us to keep their pet overnight in Philadelphia at a local pet hotel.
Our customer care team has been in regular communication with Ms. Dalton and safely transported her pet to RDU this morning. We know it’s frustrating when our customers’ travel doesn’t go as planned and apologize for the inconvenience. Safety of all our customers is our top priority. More information on our pet travel policies can be found online.
Dalton says she hopes the airline makes a policy change to improve their system.