Bluebell, a black Labrador, is said to be traumatised by her recent experience of being in an aircraft hold for 60 hours according to the news media. The reason? She was accidentally flown 3000 miles in the wrong direction by British Airways, her owners have claimed.
Madison and James Miller, both 27, were travelling from London Heathrow to Nashville, USA. They thought that their black Labrador was safely enroute in the hold of the aircraft.
On arriving at Nashville and going to the collection point they were told that Bluebell had been loaded onto the wrong plane and sent to the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, which is more than 3000 miles in the opposite direction.
Bluebell was handled by a partner of British Airways, IAG Cargo, who have apologised. They are investigating how the mistake occurred.
Bluebell’s owners were relocating from Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire to Nashville. They said that their five-year-old dog had been traumatised by the experience. They say that she is now suffering from behavioural problems.
They told the Daily Mirror:
“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. So now we can’t leave her. She could harm herself. Being apart from us is too traumatic for her”.
The couple have asked the airline for compensation to pay for their dog’s rehabilitation and medication.
IAG Cargo responded by saying that they took their responsibilities seriously and added:
“During Bluebell’s 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.”
Comment: Perhaps Bluebell did not spend 60 hours in the hold but it was an awful long time and it would not surprise me if she was traumatized. I think air travel in cargo is problematic for companion animals and their owners.
There is a great potential for mistakes and disasters. Many cats have escaped and been lost at airports. And one airline bans Persian cats from travelling as they have breathing difficulties.