air canada pet cargo

Air Canada sends passenger's cats from Toronto to San Francisco without him

A Toronto man just had a particularly distressing experience when flying with his two cats from Pearson Airport to the U.S. with Air Canada.

Abbas Zoeb and his cats, Mimi and Bubba, were scheduled to fly with the airline from Toronto to San Francisco on July 6 at 8 a.m.

Zoeb told blogTO that, after his flight got delayed by two hours, he was denied entry due to visa issues at the Customs and Border Protection station at Pearson.

He was told by Air Canada staff that his two pets, which were housed in the same kennel, would be taken off the flight and that they would be available to pick up in the airport's luggage area.

Abbas Zoeb and his pet catAbbas Zoeb and his pet cat. Photo Credit: Abbas Zoeb

However, when Zoeb went to retrieve his cats, he was told he needed to wait a few hours since the process takes some time.

"It was now 1 p.m. and I tried reaching every Air Canada station in the airport to get an update on the pets and luggage," he explained to blogTO.

Zoeb said he was told by Air Canada staff that if a passenger does not board their flight, their pets will not board without them either under any circumstance.

"However, around the afternoon time I received a call from Air Canada saying that they sent the pets to San Francisco without me," he said. "They told me that I should go to San Francisco and collect them, or I can have some I know in San Francisco collect them."

Zoeb explained that after a lot of back and forth, he was told there was a flight later in the night that could transport his cats back to Toronto from San Francisco.

He was finally able to pick up his cats around 11:45 p.m. after spending more than 15 hours waiting in the airport.

Abbas Zoeb's cats Mimi and Bubba

Abbas Zoeb's cats, Mimi and Bubba. Photo Credit: Abbas Zoeb

"My pets were being treated like throwaway luggage and I was in anxiety all this time since no one could tell me where they were," Zoeb told blogTO.

Once he collected his pets, Zoeb said they were visually tired and feeling sick, with both cats sneezing after the long flights. Thankfully, both cats are now safe and healthy.

That same day, Air Canada announced that as a result of lengthy airport delays, it would no longer be accepting new requests for pets travelling in the baggage compartment until mid-September.

"I am glad they won't be taking pets in cargo anywhere because I don't want any pet parent to go through what I did," Zoeb said.

Photos by

Abbas Zoeb

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