A family moving from the United Kingdom to Nashville, Tennessee, in early December 2022 was horrified to learn that their dog was accidentally flown to Saudi Arabia.
Husband and wife, James and Madison Miller, said that their 5-year-old Black Labrador Mix named Bluebell, whom they adopted in London as a rescue, was mistakenly placed in another plane. Upon arrival at the Nashville International Airport, they learned of the bad news when they were handed the wrong dog, a Cockapoo puppy.
James Miller bade farewell to Bluebell on the cargo hold before he boarded the British Airways flight to Nashville. Madison arrived in Nashville a day earlier to prepare for the dog’s arrival at their home.
Airline authorities informed the Millers at the time that Bluebell was nowhere to be found on the plane and was probably sent on a different flight.
It took another hour before they were able to track Bluebell down, and it was confirmed to have arrived in Saudi Arabia. A photo of Bluebell still locked in her crate was sent to the Millers.
“After we knew she was in Saudi Arabia, it was just all hands on deck. How do we get her back?” Madison Miller recalled.
63 Hours From London To Nashville
Bluebell had to endure three flights and a total of 63 hours before she was reunited with the Millers.
The poor dog was flown from Riyadh back to London and later to Nashville.
The cargo company responsible for transporting Bluebell, IAG Cargo, said in a statement that they were sorry for the mishap and “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.”
The statement further said that “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 center 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.”
Never Been The Same
Madison said that after the incident, Bluebell’s behavior changed. The dog cries easily and develops severe separation anxiety.
“The first time we tried to leave her at home alone, after the ordeal, she ripped through her kennel in the first 10 minutes. The next time she chewed through a wooden door crying the whole time,” she said.
The airline has offered the couple 50,000 frequent flier miles as compensation, but the Millers refused.
The couple is instead asking for nearly a thousand dollars in damages for the behavioral therapy and anxiety medication costs for Bluebell, as well as the cost of replacing the damaged door and crate.
While a long extended journey may be viewed by some as an adventure, the experience of being locked up in a crate for a long time proved to be a trauma for Bluebell and the Millers.