A black Labrador was accidentally flown 7,000 miles in the wrong direction on a British Airways flight earlier this month, leaving her “traumatised”, according to her owners.
The dog, who goes by the name Bluebell, was put on a flight to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, instead of traveling with his owners to Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Bluebell’s voyage had been arranged with freight handling company IAG Cargo.
The mistake happened on December 1, when James and Madison Miller started their journey to move abroad from Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire.
After traveling from Heathrow Airport on the long-haul flight, the couple went to collect Bluebell from customs staff at the airport, only to be greeted by the wrong dog, a cockapoo puppy.
As reported by The sunMs. Miller said, “When I walked into the office, everyone went completely white.”
“The people at BA looked at what happened and I couldn’t believe it when they said, ‘well we sent your dog to Saudi Arabia.’ We wanted our Bluebell, not a golden dog,” added Ms. Miller.
Five-year-old rescue dog Bluebell was found in Riyadh and, according to The mirror“it was eventually flown back to London Heathrow and on to Nashville, spending a total of 60 hours in cargo.”
The couple argue that British Airways was “unwilling” to fly the dog directly to Nashville, and instead say he “endured three long-haul international flights.”
Claiming that Bluebell was “traumatized” after the mistake, the owners say it has caused thousands of pounds in damage to their home as they can now not leave it alone. The couple ask British Airways to pay for the costs of medicines and rehabilitation.
“We did everything right by moving Bluebell to America with us, and it was a real nightmare. The first time we tried to leave her home alone after the ordeal that she butchered in her kennel in the first 10 minutes,” Miller said.
“Next time she’s chewing on a wooden door crying all the time,” she added, saying: “So now we can’t leave her – she could hurt herself. Being away from us is too traumatic for her.
“We are working closely with a veterinary team and a behaviorist to help calm her anxiety, and she takes anxiety medication three times a day. But we don’t know if she will ever be the same. She is breaking our hearts,” Miller added.
An IAG Cargo spokesperson said, “We are very sorry for the recent error that occurred during Bluebell’s voyage to Nashville. We can confirm he was on the first flight home and all dogs traveling long haul with transfers will be checked and their water bowls filled.”
The statement continued: “At London-Heathrow the team at the Heathrow Animal Reception Center looked after Bluebell, allowing her to stretch her legs and receive refreshments before her journey home.
“We take seriously the responsibility of caring for people’s beloved pets and stay in regular contact with owners.”
The independent contacted British Airways for comment.