Legally Blind Man And Service Dog Kicked Off Plane Before Takeoff

guide_dogIt’s bad enough being stuck on an indefinitely-delayed plane when you’re a human who can play with an iPad or enjoy a book or something, but imagine being in that situation as a dog. Even the best-trained service dog must get tired of being crammed under a seat. When one guide dog became restless while a US Airways Express flight waited to take off, he and his owner were kicked off the flight.

From there, it became a battle of wills between the passenger and a flight attendant. While the dog insisted on curling up behind its owner’s legs, the flight attendant insisted that the dog needed to stay under the seat in front.

According to the airline’s safety rules, that’s where service dogs have to go. Other passengers sided with the blind passenger, though, and eventually the captain did turn the plane around and kick many passengers off due to the “unrest.” The airline describes the passenger’s behavior as “belligerent,” but fellow passengers disagree.

The original flight was eventually canceled. Some passengers, including the man with the service dog, took a 3.5-hour bus trip instead of flying. Others took a different flight.

“[The other passengers] could have stayed on the plane, but they chose not to. I’m so humbled,” the dog’s owner told WPVI news.

Read Comments12

Edit Your Comment

  1. CzarChasm says:

    Tough call. Who makes up the safety rules for aircraft? And what are the penalties for breaking them?

    • CommonC3nts says:

      Not really. A dog being under the seat in front or the seat behind does not change anything for safety. I think in this situation they cant expect a dog to comply with their delays like humans. They should still follow reasonable accommodation as this is a blind mans seeing eye dog.
      In they end they should not have fought the dog and just let everyone fly without making a fuss.

      • CzarChasm says:

        So what you are saying is that you have taken a look at this law and know that it’s ok for the airline to allow this? Could you please share a link to where you saw the law?

  2. TianaS says:

    The policy is probably there for a reason, but without knowing why, it’s hard to make a clear judgement. On the surface, it seems like this might be a problem where “policy” gets in the way of “common sense”. Does it really matter if the dog wants to be by his owner? Probably not, but I can also understand how they can’t afford to make exceptions.

  3. mjbressman says:

    Once again, someone with very little authority and a ridiculous ego has decided to screw someone else over for no real reason…it’s amazing how a little power goes straight to one’s head!

    I am sure there is some legitimate reason for the policy of where the dog should be to exist (although to be honest, there are plenty of policies that exist that don’t have any legitimate reasons behind them and are just absurd), but putting that aside for a second, I’m sure the policy is meant to take effect when the plane is in flight or about to take off – it obviously can’t cover every single second the dog is on the plane. Therefore, if the plane was delayed and wasn’t about to imminently depart, what was the harm of letting the dog move 5 inches…the dog could always be moved back to the appropriate location when the plane was ready to actually depart. Why can’t more people in this world have common sense??

  4. Kakkorotto says:

    Wait I’m confused. Where is the part where the dog was arrested on felony charges for disobeying a flight attendant.

    • TRUTH12345 says:

      I’m sure the airline is considering charges on the dog, owner and all the others who supported them. Soon…. thousands of FBI, HOMELAND SECURITY, CIA, POLICE, TSA, BORDER POTROL, SHERRIFS DEPUTIES, PARK RANGERS, DEA, and SECRET SERVICE agents will be shutting down neighborhoods, breaking down doors, tazzing, pepper spraying, throwing to the ground any who get in the way (including children in wheel chairs or senior citizens in walkers) in order to catch these terrorist thugs. Once there caught they can go to Guantanamo bay without representation and be kept there for life. Then the citizens of the U.S. will bitch for a week (maybe two) and all will be back to normal. Well, accept for the dog. It will be brought to court by order of Eric Holder who will ask for the death penalty. There will be, of course, a congressional investigation into why he (Eric) would use his authority in such a way but Eric will refuse to answer any pertinent questions or Lie outright but like I said before…. WE HAVE REACHED NORMAL at this point.

  5. PhillyDom says:

    You’d think by now businesses and their employees would know that they can’t exclude a service animal. Do they want to get sued?

  6. crazydelirium says:

    I understand the rules are there for a reason and safety is a first priority. However, does any single person really believe that letting the dog sit a few inches behind where he was supposed to sit would endanger anyone? Would this really mean the difference between life and death? If the plane was in an accident and crashed to the ground wouldn’t the dog and everything not strapped down fly about the plane anyway? This wasn’t about safety, it was a case of someone with an inflated ego and a tiny amount of power abusing that power and making life more difficult for a disabled man and his service dog.