Egan: Wheels up, tails down — fare mix-up leaves pets alone at Cuban airport

Egan: Wheels up, tails down — fare mix-up leaves pets alone at Cuban airport

“I am no longer drowsing. I am harassed out. I level-headed comprise my day job I surely must give consideration to. Here is all I judge.”

Author of the article:

Kelly Egan

A closeup shows a phone-size photo of one of Christina Kennis' two beloved dogs, Chloe, with her 15-year-old son, Lucas.
A closeup reveals a phone-size photo of one in every of Christina Kennis’ two liked canines, Chloe, with her 15-yr-archaic son, Lucas. Photo by Julie Oliver /Postmedia

Ottawa native Christina Kennis and her family were moments from boarding a flight from Cuba on Oct. 26 when a nightmare quandary descended.


Though she had the come paperwork in screech, Kennis change into suggested her two canines couldn’t board the Air Transat flight as a result of the airline’s fee machine wasn’t working and wouldn’t settle for the $550 pet-transport rate.

The flight change into leaving the city of Holguin in 20 minutes.

“To me, (the canines are) allotment of my family,” she said Wednesday, in a frazzled relate. “I mean, would I leave my kid on the abet of? While it’s likely you’ll perhaps well’t settle for fee as a result of your machine is broken, then a) it’s no longer my fault, and b) form what it is a must to form to let my canines on that flight.”

The acknowledge change into level-headed no.

Within the panicky, chaotic moments that followed, the family of three decided to board the flight to Montreal and make contact with a chum to retrieve the canines — a pup, Bella, her mother, Chloe — left sitting in a crate in the boarding keep of abode.


Thus ended the Sophie’s Preference allotment of the fable, very best to be sequelled by a furry Residence Alone.

Christina Kennis is frantic because her family had to leave her two dogs behind in Cuba after a last-minute snafu over payment to Air Transat.
Christina Kennis is frantic as a result of her family needed to sail away her two canines on the abet of in Cuba after a closing-minute snafu over fee to Air Transat. Photo by Julie Oliver /Postmedia

Kennis experiences the pup change into fast positioned with a family with another pup from the equal litter and would possibly well well fortunately shield there for just a few days. But Chloe, the three-yr-archaic mother, change into returned to their empty home in Holguin, a city of 300,000 on the jap aspect of the island.

They’ve organized for a neighbour to communicate about with twice a day with food and water, however the Belgian Shepherd-Chow mix, who is never any longer contented with strangers, is in every other case on my own, day and evening.

Chloe has with regards to never been left and not using a member of the family contemporary in the home, Kennis experiences, and now she would possibly well also be taking a check at two weeks on my own.

“You have not any longer got any idea,” she said when requested about her level of awe. “I’m no longer drowsing. I’m harassed out. I level-headed comprise my day job I surely must give consideration to. Here is all I judge.”


She is arranging to comprise her Cuban-born husband, Henry, wing abet to retrieve the canines, however, as a result of of COVID-19 quarantine restrictions, he can’t return until Nov. 13.

Kennis, 52, a work-at-home sales manual, has lived in Cuba for approximately four years with her husband and son, now 15.

In come of returning to Canada for several months, she researched the necessities to transport the 2 canines. She says she received three different veterinary certificates and, as a result of there change into no suggested for pet charges when buying a impress online, she spoke by cell phone to an Air Transat respectable on Oct. 20.

She says she change into suggested that a Canadian-calibrated fee machine change into required on the Cuban terminate and it change into on its capacity from Toronto the subsequent day. (Air Transat, like most airways, is rebounding from a virus dash and its web speak warns of longer than frequent wait cases to be triumphant in its “contact centre.”)


Kennis says she later confirmed with the equal agent that the fee machine change into in Holguin.

Only moments earlier than departure — “they were calling our names on the intercom” — the agent came upon a instrument glitch that wouldn’t allow the fee to be processed. To this day, she can be able to’t impress why she couldn’t pay with a bank card when she landed in Montreal or enlist a member of the family to pay on the Canadian terminate.

A photo from Christina Kennis shows Chloe with puppy Bella at lower left.
A photo from Christina Kennis reveals Chloe with pup Bella at lower left. Photo by Christina Kennis /Handout

Since returning to Ottawa, she has spent hours on the phone with Air Transat — largely on shield — looking out to get some pleasure over the forced abandonment of the canines in Cuba.

The most modern details is a customer-relatives win is level-headed gathering details in regards to the case.

“The analysis of your claim can no longer be achieved until we get the details from the agent that took your call and from the supervisor in Cuba. Here is why we now must hear to the call you made with an agent on the call heart and likewise we now must await the document from the groups in Cuba,” reads an Oct. 28 acknowledge from Transat’s “Natalie.”


No decision is yet being proposed.

Kennis thinks the airline must — on the minimal — cover her husband’s return air fare in mid-November and any associated charges in getting the animals re-certified. (The vet shuttle approvals comprise a fast expiry.) To complicate issues, the approved airline vet, in that time window, shall be working a 3-hour power from Holguin, meaning her husband has to rent a car. The total bill would possibly well well hit $2,000, she estimates.

Within the intervening time, Kennis sits in Ottawa, decided for any individual at Air Transat to prefer decisive action.

“Incorrect,” she said in exasperation.

To contact Kelly Egan, please call 613-291-6265 or e-mail

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