United nearly kills shipped dog, refuses to pay vet bills without NDA


#1

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#2

It isn't 'hush money', and I resent that defamatory implication. I'm a legitimate businessman offering you a mutually convenient transaction that happens to include an NDA, capiche?


#3

My heart goes out to her and her dog, and I understand sometimes breeders, owners, and handlers can't transport their animals themselves, but even the possibility of this happening is why I will never "ship" an animal I care about. It would be the equivalent of shipping a person I care about.


#4

When I was fired by a company, I was offered six weeks severance pay, and had to sign a thing that said I would never, for the rest of my life, say anything bad about that company. I considered not signing-- hard to do when suddenly you have no job! When you're faced with trying to pay for your life for the next six to eight months, losing six weeks of severance pay can be pretty major. People told me I was stupid because I didn't want to sign; don't give up the welfare of your family on a matter of principle.

I threw up enough of a stink that the company modified the agreement to "no bad statements for a year, no bad untrue statements ever". I was willing to go with that, even though I STILL think that's not reasonable and not consistent with the US constitution. It's a travesty of free speech that companies can put individuals in positions where they get what for them is a lot of money, and for the company is a trivial amount of money, if the individuals sign away vast quantities of their constitutionaly protected freedom of speech.

NDAs like this one United offered should be seen as fraud, or some other form of criminal activity, plain and simple.


#5

I've heard lots of horror stories from people I know, and had a really close call with my own pet. I don't know which airline she was flying, but my friend's sister's cat was killed during transport because the baggage handlers put its carrier in the unheated, unpressurized cargo hold (instead of the heated, pressurized cargo hold where they're supposed to put pets). When my husband brought his cat from the USA to Finland to live with us, the baggage handlers forgot to take it off the plane after the first leg of his flight (operated by some code share partner of SAS). Representatives from the airline pulled my husband off his connecting flight, which he had already boarded, and told him they didn't know where his pet was. Thankfully our cat was found alive and well, if a little grumpy, and both he and my husband made it to Finland after a considerable delay.

Not that the baggage handlers would necessarily follow them, but don't airlines have regulations about temperature limits for transporting pets any more? When I worked for Northwest in the late 90s, they had very strict temperature limits for allowing pets to be transported as cargo because they knew that the carriers would be exposed on the tarmac during loading and unloading. If I recall, they wouldn't allow pets to be transported if the temperature at any airport in the itinerary would be above 85 degrees. We had a lot of calls from pissed-off owners who had to make last-minute changes to their itineraries because ti was too hot for their pets to safely be transported.


#6

United: we don't just break guitars.


#7

If you love your dog, don't ship it. Go on a nice cross country road trip with them.


#8

Unfortunately, that won't work if you're moving overseas, unless you're willing spend a week traveling with your pet by sea.


#9

I cannot imagine... she is so much calmer than I would have been... ugh.
I'm so glad the dog is ok! Too many stories of animals dying. Part of the reason we got mini-doxies, we wanted them to be able to travel with us, in the cabin. (Sorry allergic people, most flights allow it, I do travel with antihistamines though!)


#10

It is absolutely consistent with the Constitution. The 1st Amendment applies to the government (specifically Congress), not corporations.


#11

So, how would you suggest you get, say, a cat from one side of the country to the other when you have to move for work?


#12

I don't know if airlines do (or if they care, I suspect that the cost/minute of a 747 twiddling its thumbs is slightly alarming); but I'd be interested in whipping up a little hobby project:

For years (probably decades or centuries if you count more primitive or creative attempts) Delicate and Expensive gear(like, really delicate and expensive, not 'some extra bubble wrap and write 'do not drop' on it delicate and expensive) has been shipped with instrumentation. Fairly basic versions are mechanical, with a chamber that contains sand or beads and an adhesive-coated area where the sand will spill if tilted more than a certain amount, and then get stuck in the adhesive. You stick one or more on the package, and away it goes, and (short of falsifying the label, and possibly the ones you also stuck inside the box, uniquely serialized, etc.) the shipper can't worm their way out of any claim that the package was ill handled.

Something like Maxim's (no not that Maxim, but boy did my parents give me a funny look when my first subcription to "MAXIM: IC Design and Evaluation Guide arrived...) 'Thermochron line extends the sensor capabilities to heat and humidity (logged over time, at adjustable intervals, battery backed RTC). The proliferation of cheap accelerometers and mics for cell phones and the like would presumably be amenable as well...

The point that I'm rambling toward is, with today's tech, and modest volume, a little logger box that provides a complete log, at intervals of a minute or less, of temperature, humidity, orientation (light intensity and magnetic fields if you care), and also logs any tilt or shock excursion conditions, with timestamp, every time they occur, should be something you could get knocked together for under $100. Probably under half that.

Obviously, there is only so much one can do against the sheer indifference of a multinational corporation who can make you wade through every form, EULA, call center flunky, customer service flack, and (if you push them) lawyer) before they'll help you; but the quality of baggage handling might well...improve... if it became customary for people to upload (in some reasonably standardized and easily infographicated format) the treatment their baggage had received when they pick it up from the conveyor after a flight(the logger could probably use bluetooth, and do it right from your cellphone if cables are too old school for you...).

The classic sticker-full-of-sand (from a recognized maker of the same) is a good compliance tool for high end shipping; but you'd need something cheaper, more reusable, and more featureful, if you wanted to work on a broader scale.


#13

You're on a roll today.


#14

Take her in the cabin with you. Most airlines allow pets under 20lbs in the cabin with you as your carry on. But book early, most will only allow two pets per cabin. Air Canada does it, it's $50 each way for a pet.


#15

good on her, i know most people would just keep their heads down, sign the NDA, and move on. i'm glad she didn't and chose to let everyone know what they are doing, it's horrible, seriously fuck these guys.


#16

The Constitution does not forbid you to sign the contract. It also doesn't allow you to collect the loot and then void the contract.


#17

Perhaps pets would be treated better if people routinely included drop/shock and temperature sensors in the crate. ShockWatch sensors appear to be selling for $2-$3 each in lots of 100. I'll bet somebody could do ok selling sets of sensors if they could figure out how to market them.


#18

This is exactly what they're counting on. Given your average first-world person's dependence upon the corporate machine, the machine thinks you can't survive without them.


#19

What's the problem? That's better than they treat their human passengers.


#20

People ship pets? People ship living things they care about?