Delta Lost My Dog, Too

Alisa tried to fly two dogs from San Diego to Atlanta, with the intent of continuing on to Germany, where she’s moving with her husband. She says Nala, a German Shepherd who is pictured here, is on the loose thanks to Delta’s mistakes in corralling the pooch. The airline says it’s in touch with Alisa and is doing “everything we can” to help her find the dog. Delta made headlines recently for a similar gaffe.

Alisa writes:

I am having the worst day of my life today. Delta has informed me that my dog broke out of her kennel on the tarmac and ran away and they can not find her. I came across your article about Paco and just wanted to let someone know about this because I am just in shock. My husband and I are moving to Germany because he is in the Army and we have two dogs, a German Shepherd mix (Nala) and a mini beagle (Princess). We live in San Diego and the dogs were to fly Delta from San Diego to Atlanta and then to Frankfurt.

I had gone to my vet and collected all the necessary paperwork to bring the dog into Germany and when I got to the Delta Cargo location in San Diego I was told I was missing a document that I had never heard of. They had no idea what the form was either just that we had to have it. I was supposed to fly out the next morning so they said they would ship the dogs anyway. I then got a call about an hour later that the form they needed was something THEY print out and have me sign. I couldn’t believe it. I drove back and signed the form and they said the dogs were on the plane and they might either fly them back to San Diego or they would see if they could just fax them the form. They called me about three hours later and said everything was fine.

Then about ten minutes before the dogs were to be boarded on the flight to Frankfurt, I got a call that Nala was trying to get out of her kennel so they wanted her to spend the night at the dog kennel and they would put her on the flight the next day. They also said she needed a larger kennel. I said fine. It was now December 22 and I did not hear from anyone so I assumed everything was going as planned. I called the international cargo desk about an hour before take-off to confirm that both dogs were boarded. I was transferred to a man who told me that Nala had escaped from the kennel and ran off like a bullet and they were looking for her. He said he did not have my phone number to call and tell me this. I was in shock and didn’t ask any details and hung up.

Mu husband called him from Germany and was told that she was placed in a much larger kennel and in the matter of about a half hour she had managed to break through the top of the kennel. I can not comprehend how this could have happened. How can a 70 pound dog break through the top of a secure kennel. She didn’t break out of the kennel that I put her in on the first flight. I am completely devastated. She has been my beautiful, loyal dog for eight years and a wonderful companion for all the months I was alone without my husband.

I really have no idea what to do and it is really hard for me to believe their story. She is lost and scared in Atlanta somewhere and I hope someone finds her and I can bring her home.

A Delta spokesperson said the airline has been in contact with Alisa and will offer her a free international round trip ticket and refund of the cargo fees. Delta will be “working with her to do everything we can to find the dog,” the spokesperson said.

“We transport hundreds of thousands of animals each year, and instances of them escaping are extremely rare,” the spokesperson added.

We’ll keep you updated on Alisa’s search for her lost dog.

Comments

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  1. SonarTech52 says:

    Maybe the dog was abducted by ATLiens….

    anyone? anyone? ..

  2. rahntwo says:

    Dog Gone…

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Gone. Goooneee.
      Good “woody” kind of word. Gone. Not tinny at all.

  3. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i hope Nala is microchipped

  4. CowPies says:

    Let’s see, she puts a big dog in a plastic kennel. Then when it breaks out. It’s Delta’s fault? And to top it off, she’s shipping it all the way to Germany. Sounds like Nala was lost and scared in the kennel to start with.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      she put the big dog in a kennel that it didn’t break out of. Delta changed the kennel and that’s the one the dog broke out of. sounds like delta’s fault

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      She put the dog in her own Kennel in San Diego.
      Delta changed the kennel in Atlanta.
      Dog- uncomfortable with being moved by strangers and placed in unfamiliar kennel- freaks out and bails.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Yeah, yeah. OP fail – cage should have been secured – even if its just with twine on the lock. If a dog gets out in an open area and doesn’t want to be caught, you don’t have much chance of catching it once loose.

      • Inglix_the_Mad says:

        You do realize that they walk the dogs (and some even have owner / pet areas) and provide water / food between legs right?

        Or are you just talking about something you know nothing about?

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

          “she was placed in a much larger kennel and in the matter of about a half hour she had managed to break through the top of the kennel”

          The dog did not escape while being walked.It broke out. How is that Delta’s fault?

          • Inglix_the_Mad says:

            Then about ten minutes before the dogs were to be boarded on the flight to Frankfurt, I got a call that Nala was trying to get out of her kennel so they wanted her to spend the night at the dog kennel and they would put her on the flight the next day. They also said she needed a larger kennel. I said fine. It was now December 22 and I did not hear from anyone so I assumed everything was going as planned.

            Did you read it, or just skim it? She was told the dog needed a larger kennel (and presumably charged for it) just before the flight, as well as the dog would be spending the night. Now unless you believe that she ran out in an unknown town before a flight, bought a different kennel, and got back through security (after handing over the new kennel), in less than 10 minutes, Delta changed the kennel.

          • jimmyhl says:

            The dog was in Delta’s custody and Delta is responsible for its care until delivered to the OP. Delta is responsible the same a day care center is responsible if your 2 year-old walks off the grounds.

          • Sidecutter says:

            Well, let’s see here. The dog was in a different, perfectly good kennel and did not break out of that one during the first portion of the trip.

            Delta told her the dog needed a larger kennel, selected the kennel, and put the dog in it.

            The dog broke out of Delta’s insufficiently constructed kennel. Something the owner had no control over.

            So, how might that be Delta’s fault. Let’s think for a second…OH RIGHT. It WAS their fault. Silly you.

          • Sumtron5000 says:

            It’s Delta’s fault because Delta took the dog out of his crate and put him in a different one? And that’s the one the dog broke out of?

      • flip says:

        Seriously, DONT PEOPLE READ ANY MORE? The Kennel she was placed in originally WASNT A PROBLEM. The PROBLEM STARTED when delta asked that the dog be placed in THEIR KENNEL!

        Also, what kind of kennel do they use that a dog can break out of? Is it made out of paper or something?

    • Inglix_the_Mad says:

      1) They have specific kennels by weight, and you use those kennels for pet air transport
      2) They’re going to be scared, but she didn’t send them for entertainment, she’s MOVING
      3) You should always employ a specialty pet transport company
      4) Delta changed the kennel
      5) Dogs are shipped in a climate controlled portion of cargo with water
      6) You cannot sedate them, or they aren’t allowed to fly

      Oh and if Nala was going to Europe she’d have to be chipped – BUT they use a different chip than we do. Hopefully she has both chips.

      • MrEvil says:

        The entire cargo portion of passenger aircraft is pressurized. Also, the air is allowed to circulate freely between the passenger compartment and the cargo compartment, thus making the hold climate controlled. It is a common misconception that airliners fly all the time with the hold void of any air pressure.

        In fact, airliners had to improve the ventilation between the hold and passenger compartments after an airliner had a malfunction in its cargo door latch mechanism. The door reported that it was shut and locked (when in fact the mechanism had broken) but in mid-flight at altitude the door burst open depressurizing the baggage compartment. The passenger compartment maintained air-pressure, but not for long as the pressure differential caused the floor of the passenger compartment to collapse into the baggage hold. After that incident airliners were modified with vents alongside either side of the passenger floor that allow for pressure equalization in the event one compartment loses cabin pressure.

    • jedifarfy says:

      RTFA. She had a kennel that was fine. Delta wanted her to have a bigger kennel. After transferring the dog to the kennel DELTA wanted, the dog broke out. DELTA’s kennel is the one that allowed this to happen, despite the first kennel being fine the first legs of the journey. They are 100% responsible.

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        What is it with all these people who refuse to RTFA before commenting? Would it help if Ben, Laura, and Phil acted their stories out, Kabuki-style? Seriously, if you’re going to comment, please at least take the time to RTFA.

        • JennQPublic says:

          Yes, it would help. Reading the articles is hard on my brains.

          Seriously, can’t the obviously-didn’t-RTFA-or-the-other-comments posts be disemvoweled or something? :-(

  5. benh999 says:

    How is this Delta’s fault?

    • What’s your problem, Kazanski? says:

      How are you allowed to comment?

    • Erich says:

      cash_da_pibble

      She put the dog in her own Kennel in San Diego.
      Delta changed the kennel in Atlanta.
      Dog- uncomfortable with being moved by strangers and placed in unfamiliar kennel- freaks out and bails.

      catastrophegirl chooses not to fly

      she put the big dog in a kennel that it didn’t break out of. Delta changed the kennel and that’s the one the dog broke out of. sounds like delta’s fault

      Inglix_the_Mad

      4) Delta changed the kennel

      FTFA — Mu husband called him from Germany and was told that she was placed in a much larger kennel and in the matter of about a half hour she had managed to break through the top of the kennel. I can not comprehend how this could have happened. How can a 70 pound dog break through the top of a secure kennel. She didn’t break out of the kennel that I put her in on the first flight. I am completely devastated. She has been my beautiful, loyal dog for eight years and a wonderful companion for all the months I was alone without my husband.

      Shall i continue?
      Or do you feel sufficiently stupid for making such a dumbass comment without reading TFA?

    • JennQPublic says:

      Remember when you used to have to audition to comment, benh?

      Well, we do.

    • Sumtron5000 says:

      Why don’t you read the article and find out?

  6. gqcarrick says:

    Wow you people have no hearts. I hope she finds her dog, obviously the first kennel was fine, the second was not. That being said, airlines can barely get people’s luggage to destinations, I am shocked we haven’t heard of more lost dogs.

  7. mobilehavoc says:

    They should just allow the dogs in the cabin as long as you buy them a seat.

  8. KatieNeptune says:

    How awful!

  9. Mudilo says:

    I moved my dog from Russia in 99 and God was it nerve-wrecking, though everything went fine in the end! Hope this one is found!

  10. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    For the umpteenth billion time, NEVER transport a live animal on a regular air carrier.

    They handle the animals poorly. They forget to turn the light on in the cargo hold, so it’s pitch dark and noisy. They forget to turn the heater on in the cargo hold so your pet freezes to death. They forget to give them water so your pet, panicked like crazy in a dark freezer, gets terribly dehydrated by panting away all it’s moisture.

    There is no upside to using a regular carrier to transport your pet or other animal. None. Either fly them on a specialized carrier that caters to animals, or don’t fly them at all.

    • bblawson says:

      And for those of us who have no choice because we are military and can only fly the designated airline that our esteemed government allows? The pet specialty airlines do not fly overseas – yet – as far as I know and these airlines would probably not be approved by the government travel agency.

      I moved to England with three cats and a dog and just moved back from England with 4 cats. Very nerve wracking both ways, but we did what we had to do. We used a Pet Shipper on our way over, but worried the entire time until the pets arrived. We then discovered that when the animals had to change flights, the airline decided their crates were too small and replaced three of the carriers without calling us or contacting any of the numbers provided on the paperwork . I was livid. On our trip home, Delta allowed us to have only 3 pets in cabin. It was not an easy task to choose one of our four cats to fly Cargo.

      Luckily we had a direct flight into Dulles. Yes, we planned it that way. We could have flown directly into Atlanta since we were moving to GA, but didn’t want the hassle of switching flights with pets. We preferred to drive to GA from VA instead.

      The airlines DO NOT allow you to secure the pet crates so the animals cannot escape. They insist on having access to the animal in case of emergency.

  11. Chaosium says:

    I think they just kill the dogs accidentally and make them disappear, I can’t imagine how any such large animals could vanish without them knowing.

  12. BrownEyes says:

    No amount of money can replace a good pet. That dog is out there somewhere scared and alone. I hope they find her dog soon.

  13. aja175 says:

    …Delta reps could be heard saying “I’ll get you my pretty. And your little dog too!” as they loaded the crate

  14. halo969 says:

    Anyone else think perhaps they lost the dog before asking about getting a larger kennel and keeping them overnight, trying to buy time to find the dog before admitting it was no longer with them?

  15. llsee says:

    In 2003-2004, I had a brief job with a much-hated government agency that required I work on the ramp with airline baggage handlers. I was at a class-B airport (not a major hub) with 13 different airlines and around 200 departures a day. My experience there convinced me that anyone who loves their pets should NEVER ship them via airline baggage! The poor dogs were terrified by all the noise and rough handling. Most baggage handlers were not intentionally mean with the animals, they were just so overworked that they had no time for special handling. At my airport, all but 4 airlines used contract labor for ramp workers, not their own employees. Theses poor guys, were constantly running from gate to gate and (in the case of my airport) few spoke English! The airlines that employed their own ramp workers were hardly better. The happiest ramp workers, and the most customer oriented were from Southw*** and they did not take live animals in baggage. Two of the others had the unhappiest employees at the airport. Having said that, at my airport, Delta baggage handlers (who were contract employees) seemed to be the most careful with pets in baggage.

  16. yessongs says:

    Did the TSA give the dog a pat down or did they use the full body scanner?

  17. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I am not sure how to transport my giant cat 2000 miles to my new city. I do not think he will fit in a cage under a seat and no way in hell do I trust airline air cargo. What other options are out there?

    • Shield Ramrod says:

      There’s many, many services that offer ground transportation for pets. Start by searching “pet transport” etc., and you’ll discover several services online, door-to-door service. I haven’t researched them too deeply, so I don’t have caveats for you.

      How big *is* that cat, anyway?

    • ninabi says:

      There’s an animal airline – PetAirways – where animals only are the passengers and go in the cabin. It’s pricey but care is very good. A friend just used them when moving from Tucson to NJ. Her mixed breed dog is her closest companion and she didn’t want her in cargo. They only fly out of certain cities on certain days (she had to take the dog to Mesa, AZ) but it eased her mind considerably, especially having to fly in winter.

    • sprybuzzard says:

      You might want to try to fit him anyway just to see if he’ll fit. Airlines have guidelines posted for the max size of a crate. I have a 15lb cat who fits into the same crate my 8lb Yorkie did, which slid under the seat in front of me on many aircraft. (I traveled home a lot with him) I think I would be too paranoid to let my pet out of site while flying.

  18. Alvis says:

    “I really have no idea what to do”

    Get another dog?

    “She is lost and scared in Atlanta somewhere”

    Oh, geez, another anthropomorphizer… it’s a dog; it doesn’t get “scared”. People get scared.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Are you retarded? Fear is definitely felt by plenty of animals. Dogs included. Pretty much anything that has a fight-or-flight trigger.

    • thelion says:

      It has been demonstrated that most animals feel fear. It is not unique to humans.

    • Ben says:

      Wow, 3.5 billion years of evolution, and humans are the first to experience fear!

    • GearheadGeek says:

      “Get another dog.”

      Spoken like someone who lacks both compassion and any experience as a loving pet owner.

      I have a dog… My avatar is a photo of her. I wouldn’t slash my wrists if someone lost her in this fashion, but I’d be very sad and VERY angry. If you don’t like pets, that’s fine, but if you can find no compassion for the feelings of others who do, you’re not a good person.

    • sparrowmint says:

      You’re an incredibly stupid and sorry excuse for a person. Advanced species indeed.

    • JennQPublic says:

      Have you ever actually seen a dog?

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      my dog gets scared in thunderstorms. if he can, he breaks into the pantry and huddles in the corner [only room with no windows or skylights] and chews up cans of food off the bottom shelf out of nervousness. he isn’t going for the food inside, he just wants something to bite down on to help him manage the fear. i’m thinking of getting him anti anxiety meds for thunderstorms and the vet agrees. i’m pretty sure dogs are way less likely to be faking fear than humans. they wouldn’t know how to fake something like that. it’s a pure reaction to a proven stimulus.

    • Sumtron5000 says:

      You do realize this is a consumer right blog, yes? Get another dog?! Oh, don’t worry about her being scared, it’s just a dog?! Are you OK with Delta’s actions since you’re obviously not a dog person?

  19. clickable says:

    Oh, honey, I don’t have any clever advice, but sending you many, many hugs and a shoulder to lean on. What a warm expression your Nala has! Beautiful baby. I hope that the publicity your story is getting will get her back to you quickly. (And thanks to your family for your service to our country.)

  20. EverCynicalTHX says:

    As a dog lover myself, I feel for the OP and hope she can get her bud back.

    Since I reading about carriers being too small and the airlines moving them to their own larger units I have to ask…

    Do the airlines post guidelines for carrier size and/or flight length? It sounds like enforcing carrier standards at check-in would eliminate situations where transfers to possibly less secure airline carriers are necessary and the potential for runaway situations also.

  21. TasteyCat says:

    Dog ran away. Not lost.

    • Sumtron5000 says:

      According to Delta, the dog ran away after she broke out of the kennel on the tarmac. And Delta had taken the dog out of her kennel and put her in one of theirs, which was obviously not of very good quality since the dog broke out of the top it. I’d say that constitutes as Delta losing the dog.

  22. eyenigh says:

    Since they require you to use a certain sized, airline-approved kennel (per weight of the dog), if the kennel wasn’t the right size in the first place, why did they ever let her put her on the plane in the “wrong” kennel? Am I completely missing a reason given for why they needed to put her in a bigger kennel? If it was for behavioral reasons, who’s the Cesar Milan calling those shots down in baggage handling? Putting a stressed dog in a larger kennel is usually not going to make a difference, only give it more room to pace and pee.

    I show my dog and this is exactly why we only go as far as I’m willing to travel by car. I’d happily buy up an entire row of seats in the cabin for him– and I guarantee that he’d be better behaved than most humans on planes. Plus, he’s totally love the rub and tug on the way through.

  23. iwantansi says:

    Sounds like they take the dogs out in between flights and put them in a cage at their kennel, also sounds like delta provided a larger portable kennel that wasnt properly put together and the dog escaped…

  24. suez says:

    An 8-year old GS goes all Hulk and breaks through the TOP of a large kennel? Second, don’t they have high fences around airport compounds to keep out wildlife and people? Seriously, that’s pretty hard to believe.

  25. Gulliver says:

    I really think transporting animals is animal abuse anyway. The OP should not force her dog to suffer the mover to Europe for her pleasure. If she makes that choice, she needs to find the dog a new home. Unless she can provide a private plane the dog is being stressed beyond any stress a human can identify with. It is inhumane and cruel, even if everything is successful.

    • falnfenix says:

      so how do you propose taking a pet to the vet if you don’t transport the animal there?

    • Chaosium says:

      “I really think transporting animals is animal abuse anyway. The OP should not force her dog to suffer the mover to Europe for her pleasure. If she makes that choice, she needs to find the dog a new home. Unless she can provide a private plane the dog is being stressed beyond any stress a human can identify with. It is inhumane and cruel, even if everything is successful.”

      Totally, also all babies should be given away before travel, no human can understand the SOUL-KILLING PAIN OF FLIGHT

      oh wait, you’re just ignorant.

    • erinpac says:

      If the dog stresses that bad, the vets can provide meds that will help somewhat.
      You don’t think that the permanent stress of having their entire family abandon them – either outdoors, but in their neighborhood, or in a strange neighborhood with a person they don’t know – is worse?
      They usually hate cars too, but they still have to go sometimes.

  26. lisbet says:

    Doesn’t shock me in the slightest. I’m sure when they transferred her to the new kennel they didn’t secure her carefully… I feel absolutely horrible for these folks. I cannot imagine one of my dogs being lost by an airliner.

  27. EEW says:

    Please let us know when you find Nala. I am heartbroken for you.

  28. AnnieB says:

    Sadly, Nala was found dead on I-285. Delta mustered up a pathetic PR response and offered a local animal adoption group a measely $1000 for the pity. They should have not given at all. Do they lose childeren?? Its appalling they lose pets, do they lose people too. It is there responsibility. If it is a service they offer and you pay for then stand up and take F responsibility. People who tend to the old, young and animals should be accounted for and trained. Why did they change the crates? What gave them that right without notice and how if they did is saftly would the dog get out? I would look into who are the people they hire to work with travelling pets, perhaps they are subcontractors?? Creepy! I will do everything in my power NOT to travel Delta. Thats it!! Done with Delta should be the action and tag line.