Local News

“Qantas killed my best friend”: Woman claims her beloved pet froze to death on flight to London

The young woman described the pet as her “baby.”

By Candice Mehta-Culjak
A Qantas passenger has accused the airline of "killing her best friend" after she found her pet bird dead from suspected hypothermia following a long haul flight.
Danielle Di Fiore moved from Australia to London in March and chose to bring her “best friends” -- two Indian ringneck parrots, Kakota and Elvis. The 21-year-old, who said she spent six months researching the best way to transport her “babies,” paid the airline $2500 to transport the birds in separate crates.
However, when the birds arrived in London on March 10, Kakota was “barely alive with hypothermia.” Ms Di Fiore's other bird Elvis arrived in perfect health.
"I rushed to the animal reception centre where I got her released," Ms Di Fiore wrote. "I kept her on a hot water bottle, then on our way home she started having seizures and [we] went to the nearest vet [where] she died of hyperthermia."
An arrival report from the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre said the bird was “in very poor condition.”
The report also said the diameter of the perch was too large for that particular species to comfortably rest on, and that the bottom of the crate was “sodden” with water.
“Water staining was apparent round all sides of the container and at least (one quarter) up, indicating some issue with handling,” the report said. “The amount of excess water in the container indicated the overfilling of the water pots.”
A report from the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre said the bird was “in very poor condition." (Image via GoFundMe.)
Despite a recommendation from Skypets, the report also said the diameter of the perch was too large for that particular species. (Image via GoFundMe.)
Ms Di Fiore said both Qantas and the animals transport service Skypets had refused to take responsibility for the death or reimburse any associated costs.
According to News.com.au, Skypets spokeswoman Sue Rogers said the company was not to blame for the bird’s death.
“Of course everyone’s sorry but no-one is going to give any money back,” Ms Rogers said. “I have a statement from the vet at the (Heathrow) animal reception centre that it was fit and healthy and ready to fly when it left there. Something has happened on that flight.”
Ms Di Fiore aims to take both Qantas and Skypets to task. (Image via GoFundMe.)
“There is nothing that we did in that job that was negligent, the crate met our standards and we are not responsible for the loading on the aircraft, the airline is.”
She added that the size of the bird’s perch was determined by an international travel crate company and that ground staff in Dubai, where the flight stopped over, may have been responsible for the water soaked crate.
“If you are looking to blame people, then why not blame the ground handling staff at Dubai airport,” she said.
Ms Di Fiore has since created a GoFundMe page with the hopes of raising $5000 for an animal negligence lawyer to take both Qantas and Skypets to court.