United Diverts Plane After Dog Mistakenly Loaded Onto the Wrong Flight
For the third time in less than a week, United is making headlines for mishandling a dog. On Tuesday, TPG broke the tragic story of the death of a dog placed in the overhead bin on a United flight. Then, United misdirected a family's dog bound for Kansas City, who ended up in Japan instead. United later chartered a flight to reunite the dog with its owners.
Now, it's been revealed that on Thursday, United diverted a flight after realizing a dog had mistakenly been loaded on the wrong plane. TPG reader Michael Jones was traveling back from Fort Myers (RSW) to Akron, OH (CAK) with his parents Bryan and Karen when their pet Dudley was loaded onto the wrong connecting flight in Newark (EWR).
Instead of being loaded onto their United regional carrier ExpressJet flight 4091 from Newark to Akron, United loaded Dudley onto ExpressJet flight 3996 from Newark to St. Louis (STL). United told the Jones family that the mistake occurred because of a change of gate — although Michael notes that this change happened hours before departure.
The error was discovered in the air. Just over Columbus, OH, the flight made a sweeping turn to divert to Akron-Canton Regional Airport (CAK) to drop off the pet at its proper destination.
After dropping off the pet, the 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145XR (registration N17159) continued to St. Louis (STL). The flight was originally scheduled to arrive at 4:45pm, and ended up landing at the destination airport at 6:56pm.
According to a statement from United to TPG, the dog was "safely delivered to its owner." All passengers on the diverted flight were provided compensation for the delay, although the airline declined to share the amount.
United has told the Jones family that the $348 cost for checking Dudley one-way from Fort Myers to Akron would be refunded. However, the fee hadn't been refunded as of Saturday morning.
This article was updated after publishing to include information from the Jones family, who provided TPG proof that it was their dog, Dudley, who was mishandled.