US family discovers airline sent dog to Saudi Arabia instead of Nashville

A family from Tennessee, USA, arrived at Nashville International Airport expecting their five-year-old dog Bluebell – until they received the wrong dog.

 Illustrative image of a dog. (photo credit: PXHERE)
Illustrative image of a dog.
(photo credit: PXHERE)

A family from Tennessee, United States is demanding answers after British Airways mistakenly sent their dog – which was supposed to arrive in Nashville, Tennessee with its family after their trip to London – all the way to Saudi Arabia.

The family discovered the shocking mishap when they arrived at Nashville International Airport expecting their five-year-old dog, named Bluebell, and received the wrong dog. "They said she didn't make it to Nashville, and that they believe she landed in Saudi Arabia," family member Madison Miller told reporters.

After about an hour, airport staff sent her a photo of Bluebell in her box and confirmed that she was indeed in the Middle East. Miller said she was anxious about subjecting Blue Bell to the long return flight, especially after hearing "horror stories" about animals on flights.

The New York Post reported that for three days, Miller and her husband waited with great tension for their dog to be returned to their home. However, when the Millers finally got her back – three flights and 63 hours later – they said she had become a completely different dog. 

The G-EUPH British Airways Airbus A319-131 makes its final approach for landing at Toulouse-Blagnac airport, France (credit: REUTERS)The G-EUPH British Airways Airbus A319-131 makes its final approach for landing at Toulouse-Blagnac airport, France (credit: REUTERS)

"I was looking forward to the reunion similar to what you see in YouTube videos," Miller said. "(I thought) she would come out of the crate wagging her tail and licking my face… It was the opposite."

Bluebell’s shocking reaction to reuniting with her family

According to Miller, contrary to the family member's expectations, the dog ran away in fear. "We had to go and grab her because she was so shaken. At that moment we realized something was wrong," she added. Miller added that since she moved to her new home, Bluebell's problems have persisted, as she often sits alone and whines and attempts to chew on the door of the house.

Miller is demanding answers as to how this kind of confusion can occur. "They said this had never happened before. We don't even understand how it could happen, because there are so many safety checks."

British Airways has submitted a reference request with the cargo company responsible for the miscommunication, IAG Cargo. British Airways also apologized for "the mistake that occurred during the flight to Nashville."

"We take the responsibility of caring for people's beloved animals seriously and are investigating how the incident occurred," the company said in a press statement. "While Bluebell's route was longer than it should have been, we made sure she was on the first flight back to Nashville from Heathrow Airport in London."

The company also said that during the time the dog was in their custody, she "was fed frequently and had time to be outside and stretch her legs - including regular walks and eight hours with staff who cared for her at the animal reception center at Heathrow.” 

"Despite these measures, we understand that this was a situation Disturbing for Bluebell and its owners, and we will stay in touch with them to resolve the situation." Bluebell's owners declared that they hope to receive financial compensation from the airline for the mistake.