American Airlines Apologizes After Veteran Says He And His Service Dog Weren’t Allowed To Board Their Flight

American Airlines says it’s apologized to a retired U.S. Marine, after the veteran said he wasn’t allowed to board a flight he’d booked out of Los Angeles because he had his service dog with him.

The man, his wife and service dog Axel were on their way back to Virginia after attending an award ceremony over the weekend, where the canine won a “Service Dog of the Year” award from the American Humane Association, reports CBS Los Angeles.

According to a post the veteran wrote on Facebook, he and his wife had been “denied access and not been allowed to board our plane by American Airlines due to us not being able to prove that Axel is a Service Dog.”

He said he answered all the gate staff’s questions but that he didn’t provide any paperwork — because he’d called ahead and believed everything was fine, and they’d never had an issue in the past, including on the flight out to California.

Besides, he wrote, they’d been waiting in front of the gate for the last two hours where surely staff must have seen them, but instead, he’d been pulled out of line as he tried to board.

“We take these matters very seriously and are looking into what exactly occurred,” American Airlines said in a statement, adding that the company apologized to the veteran and his family, “and are very appreciative of his service to our country.”

The man and his family have returned home, and say they are now urging airlines to step up their training to better serve veterans.

If you are traveling with a service animal, you should check out each airline’s policy regarding them. Here’s American Airlines’ policy; United Airlines’ policy; Delta Air Lines’ policy (under Service & Emotional Support Animals); JetBlue’s policy; and Southwest Airlines’ policy.

Marine Corps Veteran Says Service Dog Was Denied Entry On American Airlines Flight [CBS Los Angeles]