A dog that was supposed to be shipped from Staten Island to Phoenix via Newark Airport was instead put on the wrong plane and ended up in Ireland.
NBC News reports the dog's owner, Meredith Grant, moved to Arizona from Staten Island last week and asked her mother to ship Hendrix, a 6-year-old English springer spaniel, to her new home.
Grant's mother, Edith Lombardo-Albach, paid about $450 for the ticket on United Airlines and dropped off Hendrix at Newark last Thursday, Grant told NBC News. Grant was on her way to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to pick up Hendrix when she got a call from her panicked mother: Hendrix was on an airplane somewhere over the Atlantic.
"I felt like anyone would feel if they found out that their child is being sent to Ireland, if the child was on a the wrong flight," Grant told NBC News.
"It was just like -- panic. 'Is he all right? Is he going to be OK?'"
United Airlines said it immediately took steps to return Hendrix to Newark when the airline realized the mistake. After the dog landed in Ireland, the pilot of the plane personally called Grant to tell her Hendrix was being walked and fed, Grant said.
"We regret that... Hendrix was boarded on the wrong aircraft," United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said in a statement to NBC News. "We are reviewing the circumstances surrounding the situation and will take steps to prevent this from happening again."
Hendrix was back in Newark Friday and was examined by Lombardo-Albach before he was sent off to Phoenix. He was reunited with Grant Friday evening.
Grant said Hendrix seemed exhausted. She plans on taking him to the vet to get him checked out.
"When we got home, he laid down and I had to keep poking him to make sure he was still breathing," she said. "He's been acting a little weird, like he'll just sit and cry."
United has apologized to Lombardo-Albach and offered her a refund, McCarthy said.
"Hendrix's experience is not typical of the service we provide to the more than 100,000 pets who travel with us every year," she said.
But Grant said the family hasn't received an apology and doesn't plan to ever put Hendrix on a plane alone again.
"I would absolutely never ship my dog with United again. Next time, I'm just going to drive and make sure he's with me so nothing like this happens again," she said.