4 min read

United Airlines Accidentally Flies Family's Dog To Japan

"I don’t understand how things like this happen..."

It's shaping up to be a very bad week for United Airlines — but even more so for pets and their families who entrusted the company to get their furry loved ones safely to their final destinations.

On Tuesday, it was reported that a puppy named Kokito, traveling from Houston to New York in a United airplane cabin with his owners, died after a flight attendant insisted the carrier containing the dog be stowed in the overhead compartment for the duration of the journey.

The airline claimed full responsibility in a statement, calling it a "tragic accident." But that's done little to ease Kokito's family's heartache, or calm the public's outrage over the incident.

And now another family is without their beloved dog — and they're holding United to blame, as well.

The Swindle family, former residents of Oregon, made the move to Wichita, Kansas on Tuesday aboard a United Airlines flight. Their dog, a German shepherd named Irgo, was suppose to be traveling on the flight too, in a kennel in the cargo hold — but when the family landed and went to collect him, their dog was nowhere to be found. Instead, there was a different dog awaiting them.

Turns out, during a stopover connection, Irgo had apparently been mistakenly placed on an international flight to Japan.

"I don’t understand how things like this happen ... my poor Irgy is now sitting in Japan," owner Kara Swindle wrote online.

Fortunately, according to KCTV5 News, the airline was able to locate Irgo at the Japanese airport, but his speedy return to the States is uncertain. Irgo has reportedly seen a vet there, but may be required to stay quarantined for two weeks before he can come home.

United Airlines has since apologized for the mistake, saying the company will return the dog as soon as possible.

Traveling by air can be stressful, even more so when joined by a pet — so it's a good idea to study up on the process before buying tickets. But given these two recent incidents involving United Airlines and dogs, it wouldn't be surprising if pet owners begin preparing for flights with extra caution.