Abbas Zoeb and his cats, Mimi and Bubba, were setting off on a latest adventure earlier this month: a flight from Toronto to San Francisco for a move to the USA.
But after Zoeb encountered delays on the airport, Air Canada sent the felines on the trip without him. He was left to stress in Canada, and he tried to trace them down until they were reunited nearly 16 hours later.
“The moment I saw the cage, the primary instinct wasn’t glad,” Zoeb said. “It was: ‘I’m frightened in the event that they’re alive or not,’ truthfully.”
Air Canada declined to debate the situation, but said that “our customer support team stays involved with the shopper about their case.” A screenshot of an email reviewed by The Washington Post shows an Air Canada representative apologizing to Zoeb for the incident.
The airline says on its website that it shouldn’t be accepting latest requests for pets to travel in the luggage compartment through Sept. 12 “as a result of longer than usual airport delays, and for the protection and luxury of your pet.”
Zoeb, a Canadian citizen who lives in Toronto, said his ordeal unfolded on July 6, when customs officials had questions on the dates on his visa. They took him to an office to get more information, he said, and the method took so long he realized he would miss the flight.
He said a representative from Air Canada who got here to the office told him they’d deal with his baggage. When he told them he had pets, they said that might even be taken care of. He said he was told no pets could board if the passenger wasn’t flying.
What followed, Zoeb said, was a full day on the airport waiting in line at check-in counters and baggage claim, asking employees in regards to the whereabouts of his pets. He was assured that the cats — a brother and sister who’re a yr and seven months old — couldn’t fly without him.
“I used to be completely lost because everyone did say the pets are there, but I didn’t see the pets,” he said. “I just had a nasty feeling that something has happened because they are only too nonchalant about this.”
Finally, he said, someone from the airline called with bad news: Mimi and Bubba had mistakenly ended up on the plane without him — though his luggage had been taken off.
“I did say that, yeah, this is clearly silly, but I don’t really care about complaining and stuff right away, because all I care about is the cats,” Zoeb said. Air Canada told him he could go to San Francisco and retrieve the cats, he said, or have another person pick them up there. Either way, they’d be unattended for hours.
Zoeb said he asked the airline in the event that they could return Mimi and Bubba to Toronto; finally, an worker told him they’d be placed on a return flight and arrive late that evening.
The three were finally reunited about 11:45 p.m. Mimi and Bubba survived but appeared unwell to their owner. Zoeb said the cats looked drained, weren’t playful and were sneezing for about every week.
He said that somebody from the airline initially said they’d look into what happened. Zoeb eventually contacted a reporter from Business Insider, which published a story in regards to the situation on Saturday. He communicated with a customer support representative Monday, though he said he felt their response was lacking.
The airline told him that it was refunding the ticket, pet fees, baggage and other fees for the missed flight and offered 200 Canadian dollars ($155 in U.S. currency) to make use of toward a future flight.
“I sincerely apologize that we were unable to retrieve your two cats to you in time whenever you were unable to travel to San Francisco as originally planned,” said an email screenshot reviewed by The Washington Post. “I do wish the perfect in health for you and your cats.”
Zoeb said he thinks the airline owes him a more proper, public apology and heftier compensation. He’s considering whether he can find help to take legal motion to carry the airline accountable. Air passenger protections in Canada say airlines must compensate travelers as much as $2,300 to switch items lost or damaged while within the carrier’s control. If a bag is delayed, they have to provide as much as the identical amount for items the traveler may have until the bag is returned.
“$200 is completely insignificant for a way much I’ve been going through and the way much time I’ve put towards this and what my pets have undergone,” he said. “I did allow them to know that that shouldn’t be a suitable apology or not a suitable amount in the event that they need to rectify anything. …They said that’s probably the most they’ll do.”
Zoeb remains to be moving to the USA — Wednesday, in truth. However the cats are staying together with his parents until he can determine a ground transportation solution.
“I learned from my mistake,” he said.