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United Airlines Chartered a Private Jet to Send Irgo the Dog Home

March 16, 2018
2 min read
United Airlines Chartered a Private Jet to Send Irgo the Dog Home
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Despite owning more than 700 aircraft, United chartered a private jet this week — for a dog.

In case you somehow managed to miss the news, the airline has had a particularly disastrous week where traveling pets were involved. Early this week, Irgo, a 10-year-old German Shepherd whose family meant to send him to Wichita, ended up in Japan after the airline mistakenly sent him to Tokyo. The Great Dane who was headed to Tokyo was wrongly routed to Wichita in Irgo's stead. The mistake wasn't discovered until the family opened their pet crate... to find the Great Dane instead of Irgo.

An even greater outcry arose from the death of Kokito, a 10-month-old French bulldog who was placed in an overhead bin compartment at a flight attendant's directive.

No doubt in an effort to mitigate bad press, United Airlines promptly sent Irgo home via private jet. While the airline hasn't commented on the cost of the chartered flight, travel consultant Henry Harteveldt had no doubt the price tag was worthwhile for the carrier after Kokito died. "It is pennies to try to stop that news," Harteveldt told CNBC.

United hasn't exactly had a great track record for public relations in recent months. In addition to the highly criticized treatment of passenger David Dao in 2017, the airline recently came under fire from employees for a new performance plan that would eliminate quarterly bonuses in favor of a lottery, and decided to end the program.

United Airlines spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin told TPG Friday evening that the airline "chose the fastest option to reunite the dog with his family."

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