A group of dog owners traveling from New York to Washington state following the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show are peeved after Delta Airlines lost their dogs, Seattle’s KOMO News reported Thursday.
Passengers had just boarded Delta’s non-stop 4:05 p.m. flight from JFK International Airport to Seattle Sea-Tac when they noticed their prized pooches had not been loaded into the Boeing-737’s cargo hold.
“We suddenly realized our dogs aren’t on there, even though the stewardesses were telling us they were,” said Greg Gorder, a man who had been tasked with safely transporting his granddaughter’s standard poodle.
“We just wanted to establish that our dogs were still on there,” Groder said. “They couldn’t do it, wouldn’t do it.”
Passengers complained that the airline then made a tepid effort to resolve their frustrations and instead assured them the canines had been loaded.
Show dog owner Sarah Pearce told KOMO the plane then sat idly at the gate for an hour while owners waited for an answer, after insisting Delta employees confirm the location of the hounds.
“Once they realized they couldn’t find our dog and had no idea where they put him, we had to get off the plane and wait until they could find them,” Pearce said.
The passengers were reportedly then given a choice between going ahead, without knowing their dogs’ whereabouts, or choosing another flight. All owners with missing dogs decided against the former, and removed themselves from the plane.
“They didn’t know where the dogs were, period,” said Gorder.
The group reportedly waited for four hours before Delta finally delivered their distinguished furry friends. That’s when another owner, Jenny Dawson, found that her dog had actually been inside of cargo all along, and was en route to Washington… alone.
She was shocked when Delta delivered her an empty crate. “I was livid,” she told the ABC affiliate. “It was like, really, can you not look in there and see there is no dog?”
Delta Airlines spokesman Mike Thomas is disputing some of the passenger’s claims, and insists the dogs were never lost, but rather “in Delta’s constant care while the airline worked to re-accommodate both the customers and their animals.”
While no animals were harmed, Delta apologized for the blunder and offered those inconvenienced (and their dogs) a free hotel stay, a refund of the $200 fee charged for transporting dogs, VIP service at JFK, and cabin seats for the dogs on a return flight to Seattle.