In the latest bad pet news to hit United Airlines this week, a flight was diverted after takeoff from New Jersey when it was discovered that a dog had been mistakenly loaded on the aircraft, officials said.
United Flight 3996 from Newark to St. Louis was diverted Thursday to Akron, Ohio, to drop off the pet. United said the dog was quickly reunited with its owner, though it wasn’t clear where.
Before the diversion, the pilot announced the plane was landing in Akron because of “mis-boarded cargo,” a passenger told WUSA9-TV in Washington, D.C.
The airline provided compensation to all passengers on the flight, United said in a statement, though did not provide details.
It’s the third time this week United has been in the news for serious pet problems.
A dog died Monday after a bag with a puppy inside was placed in the overhead bin. The 10-month-old French bulldog, Kokito, was found dead after United Flight 1284 from Houston to New York City. The puppy was traveling with Catalina Robledo and her 11-year-old daughter. Robledo said a flight attendant told her the carry bag had to go in the overhead bin, though Robledo explained the family dog was inside. United has said the flight attendant did not realize the bag contained a pet.
On Tuesday, German shepherd Irgo was mistakenly sent by United to Japan. A Great Dane was flown in error to Missouri, where Irgo’s family, Joseph and Kara Swindle and their two children, were waiting for him.
After two days and 11,000 miles, Irgo was finally reunited Thursday with his loved ones in his new home in Wichita, Kansas, “crying” with happiness, his owners said.
“It feels amazing to finally have him back,” Kara Swindle told CNN.
United has said it’s changing procedure in the wake of the Kokito tragedy and by April will issue bright tags for bags for customers traveling with their pets in the plane cabin to help alert flight attendants.
On Thursday, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) filed the Welfare of Our Furry Friends (WOOFF) Act to prohibit anyone from placing animals in the overhead compartments of planes. If passed, the measure would direct the Federal Aviation Administration to establish regulations and fines for violations.