Airline sends cats to SF without owner, then tells him to go

After being denied boarding on his flight from Toronto to San Francisco earlier this month, Abbas Zoeb was horrified to learn that Air Canada had sent his two cats on the flight without him. The airline then suggested he somehow get to San Francisco to collect them himself, Insider reported. 

Zoeb checked in for his flight on July 6 but was unable to board due to issues with his visa. After waiting several hours he was told that his cats, Mimi and Bubba, were sent to the US anyway. 

Zoeb told Insider that Air Canada then suggested he either find his own way to San Francisco or ask someone in the city to get his cats for him. 


“I said this is absurd and I don’t have anyone to collect them,” he told Insider. 

Mimi and Bubba were reunited with Zoeb in Toronto over 15 hours later, and were described by Zoeb as “visibly tired and feeling sick” after the ordeal.

The day of the incident, Air Canada updated its policy to prohibit pets from being checked into the baggage compartments of planes until mid-September. People traveling with pets must now either bring them on board as hand luggage, provided the animal is small enough, or ship them through Air Canada Cargo. 

The airline’s website claims that the change is “due to longer than usual airport delays”. It’s unclear whether their announcement came before or after the mishap took place. 

“I am glad they won’t be taking pets in cargo anywhere because I don’t want any pet parent to go through what I did,” Zoeb told Insider. 

A boom in air travel this summer has caused schedule disruptions, luggage issues and general disorganization among airports and airlines around the world. And while the chaos seems to have slowed down in the US, it is only picking up in Europe and Canada.

Air Canada did not immediately respond to SFGATE for comment. 

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