TikToker Nina Galy went viral posting about her ordeal trying to get her pet cat from LA to Bali.
She accused China Airlines of botching the transit, forcing them to abort the trip while in Taiwan.
She told Insider her cat was locked up in the dark for 38 hours with no food.
A TikToker accused an airline of stranding her pet cat for hours without food or comfort in a 38-hour ordeal that cost her thousands of dollars.
Nina Galy hoped to travel from Los Angeles to Bali, Indonesia, with her pet, whose name is Baby Cat.
She booked a flight with China Airlines, the national carrier for Taiwan, with a layover in Taipei, according to documents she shared with Insider.
Galy said she thought she had done everything necessary to navigate the complicated rules around flying with pets — but ended up stranded in the middle of her trip at Taipei Taoyuan Airport.
Her TikTok posts about the saga while she was stuck went viral, amassing some 15 million views.
Speaking to Insider, she said she planned to sue China Airlines for its handling of the situation. China Airlines did not respond to Insider's request for comment.
She said that China Airlines staff in Taiwan told her they never should have accepted her cat at LAX, that it was not cleared to enter Indonesia, and that her only option was to pay $1,800 to fly home.
Galy posted a TikTok on Thursday, to her account of over 400,000 followers, showing herself in tears at the airport.
She begged airport workers to let her see her cat, who had already been locked in her cage for 15 hours.
Instead of reuniting them or letting Galy get her connecting flight to Bali, the worker told her she had to go back to the US.
"Does anybody care that she's an animal that hasn't eaten?" Galy asked of Baby Cat.
China Airlines says “Human Error” is the reason my Cat is stuck in Taiwan.
♬ original sound - Ninadoesthemost
Galy told Insider her plan was to travel to Bali with Baby Cat because she would soon be moving there. She believed Baby Cat, who she has had for about 10 years, could fly with her in the cabin.
She got a vet to issue a travel certificate, and spent almost $1,500 on consultations, blood tests, vaccinations, and other protocols.
"We then sent the lab results to the USDA for a travel certificate, which cost me an additional $150 for two prepaid overnight labels," Galy said. She said the vet repeatedly checked all her documents were in order.
According to US government guidelines, a pet dogs or cat can enter Indonesia from the US under certain conditions. It needs to be in good health, has a microchip, have lived in the US for six months, not have been exposed to rabies, and have various vaccines.
From what Galy showed Insider, it appeared that Baby Cat met those criteria.
But things went awry when Galy arrived at LAX. She was told Baby Cat could not fly with her in the cabin as she had expected, but had to ride in the hold with the cargo.
A spokesperson for LAX declined to comment to Insider, saying it was an issue for the airline.
Galy said she phoned her brother who rushed a cat carrier to the airport. She said she paid four additional fees to get Baby Cat on the plane. She said the first was $230, then $90, another $90, and another $320 — she said it was not clear to her what the money was for.
"The confusion of the check-in staff was baffling, but they did put a baggage tag on her that said final destination: Bali," Galy said. "So I figured I had a few blips in my plan, but 21 hours later, we would both be soaking up the Bali sun in our new home."
But, when Galy got to Taiwan after 13 hours of flying, expecting to get her connection to Bali, she landed "to a complete nightmare." She said she was greeted by a gate attendant who took her to an area outside of boarding and told her to wait for a manager.
"This is when I knew something was terribly wrong," she said.
After an hour of waiting, she said a manager, "who didn't seem to be friendly, or have a sense of urgency about the matter," told her she needed to go back to the US as Indonesia would not accept her cat.
"He told me I was not allowed to switch airlines, and that I was not allowed to stay in the airport another 24 hours, forcing me to buy another return ticket with China Airlines," Galy said.
She said the manager told her Baby Cat had only been allowed that far due to "human error" at LAX.
"I requested that they at least cover my ticket back to America, because they had already admitted the fault of human error," she said. "But when I articulated this to the manager, his response was, 'I do not accept your opinion. China Airlines does not owe you anything.'"
Galy said the manager had a "general lack of empathy" and even walked away from her several times during the conversation, saying he "couldn't deal with it."
Feeling "defeated, confused, and traumatized," Galy gave in and paid $1,800 to get back to LA, on a plane that left 13 hours later. She was told she couldn't see Baby Cat in that time.
"My cat had to remain in the basement for an additional 13 hours by herself, until our 12.5-hour flight back was ready to board," she said. "They said they covered her cage with a blanket, so she's trapped in the dark, for what would be 25 hours, before boarding the return flight."
This was when Galy turned to TikTok.
"I have traumatized my cat, I have sedated her, I have starved her, she has been in a cage for almost 15 hours now with no food and nowhere to relieve herself," she said in her video.
"When I paid for baby cat to fly, they put a baggage tag on her carrier that said 'Final destination: Bali.' At that point in time, if she was not able to go and enter Bali, why was that even able to print from your system?"
Galy and her cat were reunited the next day when they landed in the US. She updated her TikTok followers saying her cat was fine, though she "smells terrible."
"She definitely peed in her cage and threw up," she said.
I’m choosing not to share the details of what was told to me for legal reasons. However, the gravity of this situation was known BEFORE I arrived to Taiwan, and they also did accept responsibility for “human error.” So now I’ve got even more work to do with this😢
♬ original sound - Ninadoesthemost
"I felt like the worst pet owner ever," Galy told Insider. "I felt like I had betrayed the trust that had taken me almost 10 years to build with my cat."
She added that she knew "for a fact" Baby Cat had not received any food or been allowed out of her cage to relieve herself "because her cage was zip-tied shut," she said.
Galy said that she saw China Airlines' corporate account on Instagram watch updates she posted about the situation, but that she had not heard from them.
"I am pursuing legal action and am seeking an international lawyer to help solve this effectively," she said.
Galy is currently now in Bali going through with her trip as planned, but left Baby Cat at home in California.
Read the original article on Insider