Natalie is pretty angry. Lately whenever her mother, who is blind, has to travel, she seems to run into trouble. As Natalie puts it, as far as airline regulations go a guide dog is equivalent to a wheelchair, and the appropriate accommodations should be made without hassle. It’s too bad on her last flight, Natalie’s mother had to sit in the bulkhead next to a Delta employee with a fear of dogs.
My mom is a medallion member of Delta Airlines. This should get her a few perks and privileges because she flies so much.
Instead, several times she has almost been kicked off of her flight. Why? Because she is blind and travels with a guide dog. It’s ridiculous—the Americans with Disabilities Act allows her to travel on planes with a dog and requires the airline to make an accommodation. Instead, she has been put through the wringer.
My mother almost always requests bulkhead because there is extra space for the dog. She calls ahead to make sure this is possible. She’s an experienced traveler, and just completed her 30th flight with her current guide dog.
Natalie goes on to explain that last year, she and her mother were bumped from the bulkhead seats and almost missed their flight as they fought with a ticket agent over upgrading to a coach seat. Then this past weekend her mom faced a new unnecessary inconvenience.
Fast forward to this weekend. My mom went to Oregon. On the way home on Flight #4693, where the bulkhead seat was not an emergency row, she thought she was good to go. But then she was approached by a Delta employee and told that a flight attendant on the flight was scared of dogs and that she’d have to change her seat. No, I’m not joking.
My mom didn’t budge. Delta didn’t either. Until a CRO [Complaint Resolution Official] told them that my mom needed to be allowed on the plane.
Throughout the flight, the supposedly terrified attendant bothered her every time the dog’s tail was in the foot space of the seat next to her — which was empty — asking her to move the dog.
I’m writing because I’m fed up. Businesses, and it seems especially Delta, don’t understand that even though these dogs are cute and cuddly, they should be treated like wheelchairs. They are tools and devices and by law must be accommodated for.
Both of these incidents should have been handled before they reached the consumer. In this case, my mother. Who is blind. Traveling is dang hard enough.