Airline mistake sends Nashville-bound dog to Saudi Arabia

A Tennessee family’s dog was accidentally sent to Saudi Arabia instead of Nashville. (Source: WSMV)
Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 8:32 PM EST
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BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WSMV) - A Brentwood family’s dog was accidentally sent to Saudi Arabia instead of Nashville.

The family was moving from London to Tennessee, and when they arrived at Nashville International Airport, they were given the wrong dog.

Madison Miller rescued 5-year-old Bluebell in London, a place she felt at home, until her parents moved to Nashville.

“I had months of nerves putting her on this plane,” Miller said. “I’d heard so many horror stories.”

Miller said they flew British Airways and said goodbye to Bluebell on her way to cargo hold at London’s Heathrow Airport. It wasn’t until they landed at Nashville that they realized Bluebell didn’t make the trip.

“They said she wasn’t in Nashville, and they said their best guess was she was in Saudi Arabia,” Miller said.

An hour later, Miller said airport staff tracked Bluebell down and sent a picture of her locked in her crate.

“After we knew she was in Saudi Arabia, it was just all hands-on deck. How do we get her back?” Miller said.

After three days and many sleepless nights, Miller and her husband got the news they had been waiting for. Bluebell was home, but she wasn’t the same dog they saw last at Heathrow Airport.

“I anticipated kind of like the reunion you see on YouTube,” Miller said. “Like she comes out of the crate, she’s wagging and licking your face. It was the opposite.”

After three flights and 63 hours later, Bluebell bolted.

“We had to go and grab her because she was so horrified and that’s when we knew something was wrong,” Miller said.

Something was wrong then and ever since.

When they got home, Bluebell would cry when left alone, and at one point chewed through a door.

Now they want to know how this happened in the first place.

“They said this has never happened before, we don’t even understand how it could happen because there are so many safety checks in place,” Miller said.

British Airways forwarded a request for comment to the cargo company, IAG Cargo. A spokesperson released the following statement regarding the error:

“We are very sorry for the recent error that occurred during Bluebell’s trip to Nashville. We take the responsibility of caring for people’s loved animals seriously and are investigating how the redirection happened. 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. 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.”

Bluebell’s owners hope to get some money from them for the error.