Ariel Dale was planning a cross country move from Los Angeles to New York, where she was going to go to grad school. Anyone who has traveled with pets can tell you that even under the best circumstances, animals in a car, for days on end, is not pleasant for the pets or their people.
Both of her cats, Stevie Nicks and Mr. Tumnus, are rescues. Both cats are apparently skittish and Mr. Tumnus in particular has anxiety and trust issues, due to his history before Dale adopted him. She decided that one day of stress on a plane would be better than four or five days of stress on the road. So she made plans for both them and her to fly to New York.
She was flying on Delta but her direct flight wasn’t equipped to have animals in cargo. Other Delta flights that week had long layovers that she wanted to avoid for the cats’ sake, and United wasn’t accepting pets in cargo at all. That left American Airlines.
Dale arranged her plans to ensure she would arrive in New York before the cats did, so she would be there when they landed.
Just before she was getting ready to take off, Dale got a text from American, saying that her cats’ flight would be delayed and wouldn’t take off for 4 more hours. And then 5 more hours. And then the cats’ flight was canceled entirely.
By this point, Dale was already in the air, en route to New York, so she bought the plane’s Wi-Fi and began tweeting with American representatives to learn what would happen to her cats. American said they put the cats on a new flight. That flight was also delayed, but did eventually take off.
While still in the air, Dale got an email from American that apologized for the cats’ delay, but that they were on a new flight that would arrive at JFK at 8:47 pm. The email also told her to meet her cats at the Global Priority Shipping Center, located at Terminal 4.
She got to Terminal 4 and, of course, there were no cats. There was also no American Airlines – they’re at Terminal 8 at JFK. So much for her email that said to go to Terminal 4.
So she went to Terminal 8, now 45 minutes late, and found an American representative at the Global Priority Shipping Center. She told them she was there to pick up her cats.
He said they didn’t have any cats.
Her meltdown on TikTok has gotten almost 5 million views so far.
The rep then started making phone calls to try to find the cats. He didn’t have a tracking number because their original flight was canceled and no one he spoke to knew anything about 2 cats flying from L.A. to JFK in cargo.
The rep also seemed surprised that Dale was so upset that her two cats were missing.
Anyway, after about 2 hours, American Airlines finally found the cats.
Here are the videos Dale posted about the incident (Note: There’s a little bit of adult language in one or two of the videos):
Part 1 of her story:
According to a video Dale posted a few days later, the cats are apparently doing a little better now.
Dale said that American Airlines never contacted her, nor offered an explanation or apology for her cats’ misplacement.
A spokesperson for American said: “Caring for our animal travelers and ensuring they have a smooth and safe travel experience is always a top priority for us. We never like when travel plans are disrupted and are sorry for any inconvenience. Our team was in regular contact with Ariel throughout her pets’ journey and she has been reunited with her furry companions since then.”
Feature Image: Rob Marquadt / flickr
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary