Many Americans legitimately use service dogs to help them get through life with post-traumatic stress disorder. The animals help their owners not by providing emotional support (they do that, too) but by disrupting terrifying stress reactions. This qualifies many PTSD animals as service dogs under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but some companies refuse to agree. Like American Airlines, which kicked an Army retiree and his dog off a flight between two cities in Florida.
The vet depends on his dog not just for psychiatric support, but to perform physical tasks as well. He had never had trouble taking her on planes before, and had been assigned a front row (bulkhead) seat where the dog could lie on the floor.
“The flight attendant told me she said the policy states no pets in bulk-heading,” he told CBS Miami. “I said, ‘again, Bella’s not a pet. She’s a service dog.'” Yet the man says that he and his wife were asked to get off the plane. They rented a car and drove home instead.
“I was beyond humiliated. My wife and I had to walk back down the jet-way past all the other passengers in complete, just, humiliation.”
American Airlines offered the family a refund, and told the veteran’s wife that they will re-train their staff on the concept of “service dog.”