Airline Refuses to Let Military Family Dog Fly With Them to New Home Overseas (VIDEO)

military family dogIn late November, a Navy family ran into a SNAFU when they showed up at the airport to board their flight to Japan. Hospital Corpsman First Class John Gromer, his children, his wife, and his two dogs were leaving San Diego for their new station in Okinawa when one family member was told to stay behind. Apparently, American Airlines wouldn't let their dog Gunner board the flight because his cargo container was two inches too big.

Gromer says the attendant was rude and even yelled at him, as his children were crying, to get the dog off the scale. Now Gromer's pissed, really pissed.

What started out as a $175 service fee to fly their dog to Japan has turned into a month-long headache with the only resolution, as of now, being a $4,000 one-way ticket on a cargo jet for Gunner.

American Airlines has yet to comment on the situation, and while I feel like rules are rules, if the dog crate's too big, it's too big, I can't help but think there's an exemption needed here.

This guy's served in Iraq and Afghanistan and his family's being shipped to Japan. Is there not two inches to spare in the plane's luggage section? A dog, as most people know, is part of the family, and I bet moving your kids a billion miles from home without their beloved and trusted source of furry comfort and happiness is really stressful. And the dog's no better off, either -- Gromer says he left Gunner stranded at the airport before a neighbor was able to retrieve him.

As of now, the situation's unresolved. Here's hoping Gunner gets to join his family in Okinawa soon, and at no extra charge.

Have you ever had a hard time flying with a pet?


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purpl... purpleflower514

Why is this news? Because he is military (and no, I'm not hating on the military family, my husband is in the military)? The attendant should not have been rude but the family should have double checked they had the right carrier.

slwinner slwinner

I am very sure that flying the entire family overseas is not an easy process and while a double check of EVERYTHING would have been prudent stuff falls between the cracks when traveling with kids and dogs. The airline needs to make this right. I agree that rules are rules but two inches deserves a presidential pardon.

mrspi... mrspierce06

a $4,000 trip on a cargo plane is the only answer?  What about getting Gunner a crate that is 2 inches shorter, its not like he'll be standing up and need those extra 2 inches the whole plane trip.

Karma... KarmaGrant

@Purple, as a fellow military wife I agree with you. We'd not be reading this if it was a civilian family. The writer, if reporting on this, would suggest they bought a smaller carrier and that'd be the end of it. And like Mrs Pierce said, that's what they should do and the airline should let the dog be on its way. It's not like sending a pet overseas is easy to begin with, lots of vet stuff to take care of. In some countries they require quarantines for the animal before and after entering the country.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

Crates must be sized specifically for the animal being transported, they're often custom made. I have a friend who breeds dogs and transports them all over the world and it's a real headache.

Ashle... AshleyB1984

Sounds like their own fault..

PonyC... PonyChaser

i'm sorry, I'm totally supportive of the military, but I'm getting tired of hearing, "they're military, just let them. After all they served in ___"

I appreciate the sacrifice people made, and make, when they serve, but... 1. it IS all-volunteer, and it IS their job. and 2. Being in the military does not exempt you from reading, understanding, and following the rules. I'm sure this 2" thing wasn't just an arbitrary rule this flight attendant made up just to irritate this soldier and his family. There is a specific amount of space in that cargo area, and the crate MUST fit in that area, or it doesn't go.

Would YOU expect someone else to be allowed to take a carryon bag that's 2" too big on to the plane? No. Because the rules are stated up front, they're very specific, and they apply to everyone. All they had to do was read.

nonmember avatar Kristi

As someone who's dad served for 20+ years and whos husband was military as well I'm getting tired of seeing stories where military families are asking for special treatment. How sad for them that they see military service as an excuse to break the rules and get special treatment. My father would be ashamed of me if I'd ever done this! Having done an overseas move, yes they are stressful, no doubt about it, there's a lot of paperwork and medical checks and hassle involved. But that's still no reason that they can't double check the measurements on a crate.

Megankae Megankae

Seriously, its their own fault. When you ship your dog there are very specific things you need to do. You are supposed to look ahead, call the airline, and MAKE SURE everything is in order BEFORE you arrive at the airport. 

We are stationed over seas as well, and my friend had to wait 4 or 5 months to get her dog out here. They wont let you ship your dog if the temperature is below a certain degree in winter. Due to health hazards. You don't see her bitching because they had to leave their dog with family in the states until Spring. 

Seriously, why is this news? 

MNGirl18 MNGirl18

I also very much appreciate our soldiers' service. However, the airlines have these rules in place for the safety of the passengers and crew. It was the responsibility of the family to make sure they had the proper size crates for transporting their pets.

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