A couple’s pet dog was accidentally flown to Saudi Arabia rather than her owner’s home in Nashville, Tennessee, on a British Airways (BA) flight, leaving the British carrier with a legal case, following damage the traumatized pet subsequently did in its new home, claim its owners.
The five-year-old black Labrador named Bluebell had been adopted in London, England, but was to join her family on their move to the US. However when they arrived at Nashville International Airport, they were given the wrong dog – a cockapoo puppy.
According to local TV station WVLT8, Bluebell’s owner Madison Miller bade farewell to her dog on the way to cargo hold at London’s Heathrow Airport earlier this month, but it wasn’t until they landed they realised she was not on the flight, having flown 7,000 miles in the wrong direction to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“They said she wasn’t in Nashville, and they said their best guess was she was in Saudi Arabia,” Miller told the TV station. “After we knew she was in Saudi Arabia, it was just all hands-on deck. How do we get her back?”
“The people at BA looked up what happened and I couldn’t believe it when they said, ‘well, we’ve sent your dog to Saudi Arabia’. We wanted our Bluebell, not a little golden dog,” Miller added.
The Mirror reported that eventually the rescue dog was flown back to London Heathrow and then onto Nashville, spending a total of 60 hours in cargo.
BA forwarded a request for comment to the cargo company responsible, IAG Cargo, who said in a statement: “Whilst Bluebell’s route was longer than it should have been, we ensured she was on the first flight back to Nashville from London Heathrow.”
They added: “During her time with us she received refreshments frequently and had time outside to stretch her legs – including regular walks and eight hours with the team at the Heathrow Animal Reception centre who cared for her. Despite these measures, we understand that this has been an upsetting situation for Bluebell and her owners and remain in contact with them to resolve the situation.”
After three flights and 63 hours of travelling, Bluebell’s owners have said she has been left “traumatised” by the experience and has caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to their home. The couple are now seeking compensation from BA to cover her medication and rehabilitation costs.