A woman has taken to TikTok after her airline lost her two cats.
TikToker Ariel Dale (@arieldale) took to the platform five days ago to share her devastation over American Airlines being unable to tell her where her cats were.
She told followers how the experience losing her cats, Stevie Knicks and Mr. Tumnus, was ‘actually her worst nightmare’.
Dale can be seen shaking her head in the video, clearly distressed by the incident.
The video has amassed more than 4.7 million views, 634,300 likes and 5846 comments, with fellow TikTok users flooding to the comments to show support for the ‘cat mom’. One said, ‘I would go full Karen in that airport if they LOST MY CATS’.
@americanair unacceptable!! you find her her cats, then pay for her flights and hope to God she doesn’t sue you! She has every right to if they don’t.
A third said, ‘Travelling with pets in cargo can be a safe and sometimes the only option. You did nothing wrong by choosing to fly them in cargo.’
In a follow-up video, Dale clarified how she was moving her cats from Los Angeles to New York for grad school and had a carload of things to take with her. She also said that her pets were ‘very anxious cats’ and that there is ‘no good option to get your pets cross country’.
She said her only options were to drive with them or fly, but that it would be better for them to have ‘one day of stress rather than four or five days of stress on the road’.
Dale continued that her cats are both rescue animals, with one of them taking ‘one month’ to even let her pet him. She told followers how she was flying with Delta and initially tried to get them on the same plane as her, but that ‘not all planes are equipped to have animals in them’. Furthermore, all Delta flights that week had a 14-hour layover. She said, ‘I was not going to do that to my cats’.
She detailed how she contacted United Airlines, which said it was not taking pets in cargo right now, but then contacted American Airlines, which was. She said she had ‘never heard any bad stories’ about the airline before this.
Dale changed her flight so she could arrive in New York before her cats to pick them up with plenty of time, with her flight at 9am and theirs taking off an hour later. She almost missed her flight, saying that American Airlines gave the wrong drop-off address. She ended up making it to her flight with ‘two seconds to spare’.
Just as she sat down in her seat, Dale received a text to tell her that her cats’ flight had been delayed from 10am to 2pm, then another saying 2.30pm and another, telling her it would now be 3pm. She said, ‘I was freaking out.’
Dale then bought wifi on the plane to try and keep track of the pets, but discovered their flights had been cancelled. They were then put on a new flight, which once more got delayed.
Upon landing in New York, Dale got a call from American Airlines apologising for the delays and cancellations. She was told by the airline, ‘Your cats are being so well taken care of, everything is okay, they’re on the flight now.’
Dale then received an email that said that recovery would be at terminal four of the recovery centre of JFK airport. The American Airlines representative on the phone confirmed the location with Dale.
She went home, buying supplies for her cats for the new apartment, before returning to the airport at around 8.30pm for their arrival at 9pm. However, she realised American Airlines is normally in terminal eight, not four.
She called customer services due to it now being nearly 10pm. They told her she should have been in terminal eight. Upon reaching the terminal, she was told there were no cats there. Dale then ‘dropped to the floor crying’.
Dale said that no updates were given, but that she was finally told they were as ‘pps’. She waited another hour, but was ‘freaking out’ thinking they were ‘probably dead’. She told her followers how she felt that the staff were not being very sympathetic in the situation.
Finally, the cats were brought out. Dale checked them over and recalls that Mr Tumnus had his ‘head buried under the blanket as was so freaked out’, but that she could ‘see him breathing a little bit so [she] knew he was alive at least’. She noted how Stevie, who is normally loud, was completely silent.
American Airlines operations representatives said they were in ‘regular contact’ with Dale with updates about her cats’ journey, according to Daily Dot.
Operations Communications Specialist Yamleque Murillo said, ‘Caring for our animal travelers and ensuring they have a smooth and safe travel experience is always a top priority for us. We never like when travel plans are disrupted and are sorry for any inconvenience.’
Speaking to Daily Dot, Dale said:
While I understand mistakes happen, the bare minimum American could have done was apologize. I paid over $700 for the safe transportation of my cats and have not received an apology, explanation, or offer of compensation.
Dale, Mr Tumnus and Stevie are now safely at home, and she says that the cats are ‘okay now’ and have ‘adjusted’ since the ordeal and to their new apartment too.
She received criticism from some of her followers, however responded to cruel remarks with videos and photos with her cats, who appear very happy to have been reunited with their owner.
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