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John Travolta's dogs killed in airport mishap; airline offers credit for loss of Canadian couple's dog

May 19, 2010 |  2:30 pm

TravoltaSad news: Two small dogs belonging to actor John Travolta and his family were killed in an accident at Maine's Bangor International Airport last week.

The Travoltas, dogs in tow, reportedly landed at the airport about 1 a.m. May 13. An unidentified person, described as "someone who is not a family member" in a statement released by the city confirming the accident, was walking the dogs from the tarmac to a nearby grassy area when they were struck by an airport service truck whose driver failed to see them. The dogs were both on leashes when they were hit, according to the Associated Press.

The airport is investigating the accident, the Bangor Daily News reported Tuesday. It's unclear whether the driver, who has not been named, will face charges or disciplinary action. The person walking the dogs was not injured.

Airport mishaps involving dogs have been a hot topic in recent weeks; the Travolta incident was preceded by one in which a dog was lost while in the care of Delta Airlines staff members in the Mexico City airport.

That dog's owner, Josiah Allen, recently told the website Consumerist that the animal was to travel to Ontario on a Delta flight, but he and his girlfriend "were told that it was never loaded on the plane in the first place, and that it was forgotten in Mexico City but would be cared for by Delta employees and walked, fed, watered, and would be sent on the next flight to Detroit, and then get delivered to my house in Ontario, Canada."

When Allen called the airline the following day to inquire about the dog's whereabouts, "no one seemed to have any answers or have any idea about the location of my dog," he wrote. "I was shocked." Eventually, a Delta employee reportedly said that the dog, a mixed breed named Paco whom the couple rescued from the streets of Puerto Vallarta, had escaped from his travel carrier and disappeared. Adding insult to injury, Allen said, was the fact that the airline responded by "offering their apology and refunding the cost for transporting a pet ($200USD) in a credit to be used with Delta Airlines. I think that this is completely absurd as there is no chance of me flying with Delta Airlines again."

After the story broke, "Delta reached out to Josiah and said sorry, along with offering to reimburse him for all the costs he put into the dog and two additional $200 vouchers for future travel on their airline," a later post on Consumerist explained.

Delta spokesperson Susan Chana Elliott told CNN in a statement that "staff have conducted exhaustive searches to locate the dog," but Paco has yet to be located. Allen told Consumerist that he doubts the story that Paco escaped from his carrier, since it "was a very secure hard plastic pet carrier with two locks and a metal wire door, and there is no way a small dog (he looked like a mix of a wiener dog and a jack russell) could scratch or break his way out of it."

Pet owners, what have your experiences been like while transporting pets by air? Let us know by leaving a comment -- we'd love to hear from you.

Frontier Airlines joins the list of carriers that allow small pets to ride in airplane cabins
Pet Airways, pets-only airline, takes off

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Travolta attends a movie premiere in New York on Jan. 28. Credit: Evan Agostini / Associated Press

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