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Buzz Petition

When Hurricane Irma became an immediate danger for the residents of Florida, Matt Varga started making arrangements for himself and his dog, Meeka, to evacuate from the state. However, the plans to safely leave Florida fell through – because, despite the natural disaster, Meeka was not allowed on the plane without a pet carrier.

After booking an American Airlines flight, Varga began to scour pet stores for a pet carrier suitable for Meeka to travel in, which is in accordance with the federal regulations. Unfortunately, after searching for one in 10 stores, it proved to be completely fruitless. With not much time on his hands, Varga decided to take his chances and go to the airport together with Meeka anyway. But as he soon discovered, American Airlines was not willing to make an exception to the pet carrier regulations, in spite of the approaching hurricane. In the end, Varga and Meeka both returned home – hoping for the best.

When animals’ very lives are at the stake, airlines, hotels, and similar businesses have often made exceptions to this kind of strict policies in the times of emergencies, like natural disasters. A Care2 petition in Varga and Meeka’s case points that fact out – and suggests that this was also an instance where the airlines should have taken such step, instead of giving the man the pseudo-choice of either abandoning his dog or just going back home and face the hurricane.

Since Meeka is a small dog and could have sat in her guardian’s lap, the risk of allowing her on the plane under Varga’s careful supervision was probably far smaller than that of the two returning home and remaining in the danger zone. “By strictly adhering to one-size-fits-all policies, American Airlines put Matt Varga and Meeka’s lives in grave danger,” states the petition.

An unwavering observance of policies designed for “normal” circumstances during a time of emergency can easily prove not only precarious but simply life-threatening. Click here to sign the petition for American Airlines to issue an apology and reconsider similar adherence to strict procedures in future emergencies.
Buzz Petition

Image source: Care2/CNN

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7 comments on “American Airlines Denied Man and Dog Fleeing Irma Due to Unfair Regulations – Let’s Change This”

Click to add comment
Cassie Tiffany
5 Days ago

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Irish Cornaire
5 Days ago

I am signing the petition because after seeing him on the news and trying to explain that he had every intention of getting a carrier for \'Meeka\' but all stores by that time had sold out and ye people slagging him well lets see how ye are treated if ye ever find yeself in his position and dont say ye wont because ye never know.

7 Days ago


Silver wing
8 Days ago

AA again! Will there ever be some good publicity about them again?

Cate Burnette
8 Days ago

Sorry, I will not sign this petition. Like everyone else who lived in the area, Matt Varga knew at least a week to 10 days in advance to prepare to evacuate. He didn\'t bother until it was the very last minute. He has said there were no crates to be had in any of the pet stores. AGAIN, why didn\'t he buy one earlier? Why doesn\'t he have one available just as part of owning a pet, something that is recommended by every veterinarian and rescue organization out there? Anyone who flies knows that pets have to be in a travel crate and must have proper health documentation from their vet, including a health certificate and proof of vaccination. Dog owners who don\'t think ahead, particularly when they know their may be headed for bad weather, are irresponsible. American Airlines should not have to pay for someone else\'s irresponsibility. *** BTW, I\'m an RVT and have worked search and rescue in NO after Katrina. All of my pets have crates and emergency bags prepared just in case of disaster.

15 Sep 2017

Because its easier to transfer responsibility to somebody else. You love animals right? Take care of them!!!!

Master Allan
17 Sep 2017

Correct stance from AA. One exception to the policy rule opens it wide for abuse. How about bringing bunnies on board? Pet mice? Your python sitting on your lap because Amazon\'s 2 day delivery on a python carrier was mis-delivered. Like so many others I have carriers for my pet and can have them packed up for a road trip in 10 minutes if there was an emergency. Matt Varga put himself and his dog into grave danger through inaction.

Irish Cornaire
17 Sep 2017

Boy ye sure are all warm and cuddly,smh.

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