These days, catching a flight means long lines, delays, and lost luggage. It’s frustrating, but it’s what you expect when heading to the airport. One Canadian cat dad almost lost more than a suitcase of clothes when Air Canada flew his cats from Toronto to San Francisco without him onboard the flight.
And when concerned dad Abbas Zoeb learned his felines had flown to another country without him, the response from the airline was disappointing, to say the least.
Cats Flew Without Dad on Board
Moving from Canada to California, Abbas and his nearly two-year-old cats, Mimi and Bubba, headed to the Toronto Pearson Airport to catch their flight. But before Abbas could board the plane, he was pulled into an office to discuss an issue with the dates on his passport. When Abbas realized he would miss his flight because of the delay, he asked about his cats. He didn’t want Mimi and Bubba to fly without him onboard.
An Air Canada rep assured his cats would not fly without him as their policy dictated that pets never fly without parents on board. But hours went by, and Mimi and Bubba never appeared. And trips between counters yielded no information.
“I was completely lost because everyone did say the pets are there, but I didn’t see the pets,” Abbas told The Washington Post. “I just had a bad feeling that something has happened because they are just too nonchalant about this.”
Then, Abbas received a phone call from the airline, informing him that while his luggage had been removed from the plane, his cats had not. Bubba and Mimi had been flown to San Francisco without him despite reassurances that would not happen.
To make matters worse, an airline employee suggested Abbas could get the cats in San Francisco himself or have someone pick them up there.
“I said this is absurd and I don’t have anyone to collect them,” Abbas explained to Business Insider.
Stuck In a Crate 15+ Hours
After asking an employee if the cats could be flown home, Abbas was told they would be placed on a return flight and arrive back in Toronto late that night. At 11:45 p.m., brother and sister Bubba and Mimi finally returned to their dad’s arms. But Abbas said the kitties weren’t well after being alone, lost, and stuck in their crate for more than fifteen hours.
“My pets were being treated like throwaway luggage, and I was in anxiety all this time since no one could tell me where they were,” Abbas said. “Once I collected my pets they were visibly tired and feeling sick. Both were sneezing.”
Change In Policy
After this incident with the cats and another in which a dog was lost among luggage for almost a full day, Air Canada has changed their policy regarding flying pets. Now, pets must fly as carry-on luggage rather than in the baggage compartments where Bubba and Mimi had been stowed.
Air Canada has refunded Abba’s ticket, pet fees, baggage, and other fees. They’ve also credited him $155 for a future flight. But Abbas says they owe him and his cats more compensation and a public apology.
“$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.”
Abbas and his kitties still plan on moving to the U.S., but he will transport the cats via ground methods rather than face another air disaster, explaining, “I learned from my mistake.”