Friday 29 July 2022

Air Canada flies man's cats to California without him

Abbas Zoeb, a software engineer, has two cats, Mimi and Bubba. They are young siblings, brother and sister from the same litter, 19 months of age. He was flying to San Francisco, USA from Toronto, Canada on Air Canada as he was relocating for a new job.

Before he embarked on the aircraft, he was questioned about the start date on his visa. The questioning went on for a long time causing him to miss his 8 AM flight.

His baggage was offloaded from the plane but Mimi and Bubba were not taken off and they were flown to San Francisco without him.

Abbas Zoeb’s cats, Mimi and Bubba. Photo by Abbas Zoeb
Abbas Zoeb’s cats, Mimi and Bubba. Photo by Abbas Zoeb.

After the questioning about his visa he spent hours looking for his cats. He was very worried. He thought he had lost them. Cats travelling by air are sometimes lost at airports and it can take a long time to find them.

RELATED: How long can it take to find a lost cat at an airport?

Air Canada called him in the afternoon to tell him that they Mimi and Bubba had been flown to San Francisco and that he could wait to see his cats in San Francisco or he could have someone pick them up in San Francisco.

Zoeb requested that they be returned to Toronto which meant waiting until 11:45 PM because the flight takes 5.5 hours.

He told the Washington Post "I just had a bad feeling that something has happened because they are just too nonchalant about this". He was referring to the attitude of Air Canada personnel. I guess that they don't always understand the relationship between cat and human.

As I understand it, there were flown back to Toronto. When he saw them they looked tired. He said that they were sneezing for about a week.

Air Canada said that they will refund his ticket, baggage, pet fees and other fees for the missed flight. They also offered C$200 in compensation to use towards a further flight.

They apologised but Mr Zoeb thinks that the amount paid in compensation is derisory and he wants the airline to give him a more public apology. He is considering taking legal action over the amount of compensation that he received.

He said: "C$200 is totally insignificant for how much I’ve been going through and how much time I’ve put towards this and what my pets have gone through.

“I did let them know that that is not an acceptable apology or not an acceptable amount if they want to rectify anything ... They said that’s the most they can do.”

Air Canada refused to pay any more in compensation. Apparently, in Canada airlines must compensate travellers up to $2300 to replace lost items or damage to items while in the carrier's control. That would not seem to be irrelevant in this instance.

Air Canada are no longer taking requests to transport animals in the cargo hold until September 12, 2020 because there are unusual delays at airports which, incidentally, reflects the problems encountered in the UK.

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