Last week, we brought you the story about a U.S. military veteran and his service dog getting kicked out of a diner. Now we have a similar story, only the man question is getting kicked off a US Airways airplane.
A Vietnam veteran and his service dog, a Golden Retriever, were headed from Phoenix to El Paso on a US Airways flight on Sept. 7, when the man refused to comply with a flight attendant’s request to place the dog on the floor, according to Fox 10 News.
The man wanted the dog to sit in the empty seat next to him. The vet told airport personnel he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
A person who filmed the event said on YouTube, “The man’s protest was understandable because being a small CRJ aircraft and the dog being full size it was hard for the dog to fit on the floor between the seats. The dog was behaving beautifully while seated in the seat and not bothering anyone.”
The discussion on the plane quickly became heated, with the man raising his voice. At one point he yelled at the attendant, “No! I’d appreciate if you’d get the hell off this ground and get where we’re going!”
At another point he stood up, turned to the crowd, and said, “I’m sorry folks but I’ve earned the right to have this service animal because of my service to this country in Vietnam. I am 100 percent disabled, I have a service dog because of it, and everyone has to obey the [Americans with Disabilities Act] laws except this airline! So I’m sorry but I’m not budging!”
A US Airways spokesman told Fox 10 News that service animals are required to remain on the floor for safety reasons.
“If the aircraft were to experience something in the air and it needs to evacuate you don’t want that animal to be in the way of people getting off the aircraft,” spokesman John McDonald said.
The airline said that it was the vet’s reaction to the demand that led to him being kicked off the flight, not the presence of the dog. Indeed, the man’s outrage quickly gets the better of him, and he begins yelling and using expletives. It it hard to imagine him not being kicked off after the outburst.
“We had had conversations to the customer trying to explain what was going on. And the captain was involved when the flight attendant wasn’t able to resolve it and, in fact, many of our captains are former military people, this is an issue we are very familiar with, and unfortunately this gentleman’s reaction was what resulted in the incident,” McDonald said.
The person who filmed the incident and posted it on YouTube, however, said that the passengers were firmly on the passenger’s side. The poster said a police officer came on board after the crew ejected the man and asked passengers (which is not captured by video) whether they believed it was “right for this man to be escorted off this aircraft.”
“The individuals on the airplane replied with a thunderous (shaking me in my seat as I yelled) NO!!!”
Airport police cited the man for trespassing and booked him on another flight the following day. US Airlines paid his tab for a hotel room for the night.
Watch the video:
Via Fox 10 News