We came across a story on our social media that American Airlines lost track of a pet dog and then failed to give accurate information about the pet’s whereabouts and care after the fact. Ares was six hours into a scheduled layover when his owner contacted the airline, who said they knew where Ares was. Except, they didn’t. Hours later, they finally found the beloved pet still in the main cargo area, rather than being moved to the kenneling area where the pets can be properly cared for.
Despite this troubling news, the airline assured the pet’s owner, Katie Trusiak, that Ares had been given water, food, and let out of his crate during the roughly 24-hour period in which he was in the airline’s care. Only the evidence seemed to tell a different story since the crate was still locked with the original zip ties. The airline later confirmed that Ares was given water but was NOT let out of his crate or given any of the food that had been taped to the top of his crate.
While Ares now appears to be on the mend, he is still afraid of his kennel. Hopefully, he isn’t permanently traumatized by the event. If it were up to us, American Airlines would, as part of their response to this incident, offer to buy Ares a brand-new dog carrier to help him rebuild positive associations with kenneling. When we heard about this story 48 hours after the facts, the airline still hadn’t even reimbursed the owner for the cost of Ares’ travel.
The Need for Modern-Day GPS Pet Tracking
This disturbing incident also shows the need for more universal adoption of modern-day GPS tracking systems. Sendum helped develop and pioneer modern-day tracking devices that provide information in real-time for GPS location, temperature, humidity, shock events, and other data about the location and conditions in which your pet is being transported. In 2015, Delta Airlines first introduced these tracking devices to the airline industry as a standard part of their pet travel services. And while pretty much every major airline allows customers to place these tracking devices on their cargo packages, very few include this type of tracking as part of their pet travel programs.
No System is 100% Foolproof
Of course, the most sophisticated tracking and monitoring system in the world is only effective if it’s properly activated and attached to the pet crate. No doubt, if American Airlines pet travel and cargo system had been followed to the letter, they never would have lost Ares in the first place. When there is a travel incident, especially one in which the airline is so clearly at fault, it’s on them to do what they can to make things right. We were saddened to hear about what happened to Ares, but we were also disheartened that when the airline contacted the pet owner, they apparently failed to make even basic assurances that they would reimburse the cost of travel and help make sure that Ares could recover from the potentially traumatizing incident.