Holiday shocker: Diva and dog dumped by airline over weight issues

Holiday shocker: Diva and dog dumped by airline over weight issues


norman lebrecht

December 22, 2015

Just in from Opera Nederland:

The Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek and her dog Ruby were refused by KLM due to the increased weight of the dog.

Eva-Maria Westbroek had the intention to fly to the Netherlands for Christmas. She had booked a flight with KLM to travel from London Heathrow to Schiphol after the matinee performance of ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’ on 21 December 2015 at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

But her dog Ruby was not allowed on board by the KLM because of her increased weight. Due to recent surgery she appeared to be heavier than the permitted eight kilos. For a world famous soprano as Eva-Maria Westbroek the KLM did not wish to make an exception. The devastated Westbroek said she was laughed at by the ground crew. She stated that she will not fly KLM ever again.

westbroek dog

UPDATE: Read KLM’s response here.



  • Kabel Wright says:

    “For a world famous soprano as Eva-Maria Westbroek the KLM did not wish to make an exception.”

    Nor should it.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      No exceptions, right, but the limit (8 Kg) is quite arbitrary and stupid. The dog in the picture does not look unusually large.

  • Anna Magdalena says:

    Bark’s Christmas Oratorio.

  • Olassus says:

    I don’t get it. The dog had surgery and became heavier? How? Heavier than 8 kg? How would they cope with a labrador?

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Maybe a metallic orthopedic implant, as for a broken leg?

    • Max Grimm says:

      The reason the 8 kg is noteworthy, is that Frau Westbroek wanted to take her dog into the cabin with her. Labradors and other dogs over 8kg have to travel in a special, heated cargo compartment underneath the cabin.

  • A Met Fan says:

    If you know Eva-Maria even slightly, that is heartbreaking. She is one of the loveliest and kindest people you will ever meet. I hope she has a wonderful Christmas wherever she is.

    KLM was never on the top of my list in any case…

  • MWnyc says:

    Isn’t this why God created the Eurostar and Thalys?

  • Lee Anderson says:

    In this case, I suspect that KLM was only saying it could not travel IN THE CABIN …. Dogs much larger than this routinely travel in baggage, especially for a flight this short.

  • Richard says:

    The limit is actually: “Total weight of pet + travel bag or kennel may be max. 8 kg (18 lbs).”
    If I have to go to Amsterdam I catch the train from London Liverpool St. to Harwich + cabin in the overnight ferry – very civilised and good value, plus a decent meal.

  • Robert Levine says:

    I don’t think KLM is behaving unreasonably. Eurostar doesn’t allow any animals at all as carry-on (except for service animals).

    The weight limit might safety-related; while the seats rest on very strong support rails, the flooring between the seat support rails is undoubtedly much lighter. And, in a crash, it would be bad to have a heavy object being pushed upwards with great force into the bottom of a seat.

    Kudos to KLM for not making an exception in the case of someone who undoubtedly flies with them a lot.