Kara Swindle via KCTV 5

United Airlines Sends a Dog in Cargo to Japan Instead of Kansas

United Airlines is really messing up with people's pets. 

And the airline better get their story straight with this one since it comes right on the tails of a dog dying in the overhead compartment on another United flight earlier this week.

Kara and Joseph Swindle, along with their seven-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, are in the process of making the move from Oregon to Wichita, Kansas. Obviously their 10-year-old German Shepherd Irgo is moving with them.

So the family packed up, and put Irgo safe and sound in his kennel in the cargo of their flight across the country. When they got to Kansas City and went to pick Irgo up in the United Airlines cargo facility, there was a Great Dane waiting for them, albeit in the same type of carrier which is how the airline is explaining their mistake. It was not their dog waiting for them in Kansas City. Irgo was, at that moment, on an international flight to Japan.

Watch the news report from KCTV 5:


The United Airlines flight that Irgo was on landed safe and sound in Japan, even though the wrong dog was on board. Kara Swindle told KCTV 5 that the whole mix up is obviously an administrative nightmare.

"I just want to know where my dog is. The fact that we don't have any idea is the most frustrating part. He could be in Kansas City and we have no idea because the paperwork is all messed up. They have our paperwork here saying that this is the correct dog, but we know it's not. It's just horrible."

Irgo the German Shepherd will now have to be quarantined for up to two weeks since he is now in a foreign country. He will go to a veterinarian in Japan, and then put back on a plane in cargo hold to Wichita in 14 days.

United Airlines paid for the Swindle family to stay at a nearby hotel in Kansas City while they figured everything out. They were supposed to be in Wichita to sign paperwork for their new home but they are wary to leave Kansas City in case there is news about the senior dog.

"At this point, all I can do is be hopeful that my dog is going to be okay and return safely," Kara said. "I don't know what else to do at this point. I can't cry anymore. I've cried too much."

A United Airlines spokesperson told KCTV 5:

"An error occurred during connections in Denver for two pets sent to the wrong destinations. We have notified our customers that their pets have arrived safely and will arrange to return the pets to them as soon as possible. We apologize for this mistake and are following up with the vendor kennel where they were kept overnight to understand what happened."

In 2016 more pets died traveling on United Airlines than on any other airline. It remains to be seen if the Swindle family will pursue legal action.


Irgo was flown back from Japan on a private charter flight! He didn't need to be quarantined and Kara Swindle and her children picked up the German Shepherd from the Wichita Airport at 7:30 CST on March 17.

Has your pet flown in cargo? Tell us in the comments below. 

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