Airline responds to diva’s dog distress

Airline responds to diva’s dog distress


norman lebrecht

December 22, 2015

We’ve received this warm and cuddly reply from KLM, which threw a diva and her dog off a London-Amsterdam flight, claiming the dog was overweight.

KLM say: At KLM we have a long history of transporting all kinds of animals, and their well being is of utmost importance. Each pet has to fit comfortably in its kennel, and only small kennels fit in the cabin. For this reason we adhere to weight restrictions indeed. At KLM we choose to maintain clarity. If we would make an exception in this case, it would not be fair towards all other pet owners. Please see for more information.

Don’t you just want to fly them? Doncha just?

westbroek dog


  • Patricia says:

    Presumably Ms Westroek travelled by air when she travelled to London to begin rehearsals at the Royal Opera House in November. How much weight can a spaniel put on in six weeks to cause this concern. The Christmas spirit was clearly with the KLM staff. A merry Christmas to one and all. I hope she has managed to get home without too much delay

  • Max Grimm says:

    Well technically Norman, Mrs Westbroek got herself “dumped” off the flight, by refusing to agree to her dog flying in the cargo hold of the plane (and I know how profound the attachment can be to a pet but the rules are the rules).
    So, in summation, Holiday Shocker: Diva gets treated just as the rest of the flying public does and “warm and cuddly” airline enforces clearly stated and defined rules.

    “Don’t you just want to fly them? Doncha just?”
    I’d rather fly KLM on their worst day than most US airlines on their best.

    • CDH says:

      I had no idea animals (except perhaps guide dogs, and I have never seen one) could fly in cabins. If KLM provides this service it is better than most. I have flown with them and many, many other airlines around the world. This is one of the best. And while the “diva”‘s situation is unfortunate, it does not make the airline unreasonable. Tough break is all. And a quick and courteous reply to a query.

      When anyone crosses a SD favourite, there is no mercy, or even justice, is there? You go on the list. So now the implication is that nobody would ever want to fly one of the best airlines in the world because a SD pet did not get her own way in spite of clear and written rules. She says she will never fly them again? Hope her dog enjoys the cargo deck.

      • Max Grimm says:

        Indeed. Instead of vowing to never fly on an airline that refuses to arbitrarily disregard rules from one person to the next, she should look to the Americans for tips.
        Apparently it’s comparatively easy to have a pet registered as service animal. Given the popular stereotype of opera divas being capricious and maladjusted, she could have her dog declared an emotional support animal, making joint travel much easier. If I remember a story from 1-2 years ago correctly, one woman in the USA even managed to get a 40kg pig into the cabin (however, she and her “emotional support pig” were eventually taken off the plane, after said emotional support pig became destressed and defecated in the cabin aisle I believe).

  • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

    Glad to learn it was not the diva who was over weight and had to travel in the cargo deck. Poor doggie.

  • Dave T says:

    Where KLM says, “all kinds of animals” and “each pet has to fit comfortably in its kennel,” they’re refering to the dog, right?

  • Lori Fredrics says:

    The title of this article is very misleading and seeks to benefit from promoting stereotypes about opera singers. Please remove or edit this poorly written article.

  • Daniel F. says:

    These adjectives used to describe NEC and Berklee are just more of “Norman being Norman, giving the old elbow jab to American institutions. They should not be taken so seriously, given the services provided on this blog.