These days we hear about ducks and snakes and monkeys being used as service companions for those who suffer from anxiety or other debilitating disorders. The airlines let them fly with a passenger as long as the person has all the right paperwork.
That’s why the case of a North Carolina boy is so baffling. Twelve year old, Bryant Weasel, suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. His 110-pound service dog, Chug, is trained to alert the family when Bryant is about to suffer a seizure, and then to comfort him during the episode.
The Weasels decided to take Bryant and his older sister on a Thanksgiving trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. They had no problem with American Airlines while flying to their destination, but on the flight back home, a flight attendant threw the family off the plane because Chug wouldn’t fit under the seat.
The family says they had notified the airlines of the situation when booking their flights, and PSA, the American Airlines-owned regional airline, had no problem with Chug flying with them. In fact, the airlines had put the family in bulkhead seats to ensure they would have more room.
However, on the return trip home, they were treated horribly by a PSA flight attendant. The attendant argued the animal was too large to travel and even questioned whether Chug was a legitimate service dog, according to Mrs. Weasel.
It was the family’s first airline trip with Chug, who had previously only flown by air ambulance. Chug is a golden retriever and black poodle mix; he had been given to Bryant by a service dog charity after Bryant’s first service dog died.
Since the incident, American Airlines has apologized profusely and offered the family discounted flights. The Weasels have not said whether they will sue the airlines.
What do you think? Was this a real bah humbug thing for an airlines to do to a sick child? And do you think they have a legal case?
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