A mother is sharing her story after she and her disabled son were kicked off an American Airlines flight because their service dog was too big.
The incident occurred while Amy Weasel was flying home on Thanksgiving Day with her 11-year-old son Bryant Weasel and their 110-pound labradoodle named Chug, WFAA reported.
Bryant lives with Dravet Syndrome, a condition which leaves him prone to having frequent and prolonged seizures. Chug follows Bryant almost everywhere he goes, even to school.
“Every type of seizure that you can possibly have, he has -- and this particular syndrome is resistant to most pharmaceutical medications,” Weasel told WFAA, adding that the dog is "able to detect seizures before they happen and then he’s able to assist when he’s actually having a seizure."
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The family was on vacation at Myrtle Beach. Weasel said she called the airline and filled out all required paperwork so that Chug could fly with them. She also included documentation from Bryant's doctor.
“We flew from Evansville to Charlotte and then from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach on November 2 with absolutely no problems whatsoever,” Weasel recalled.
But on the way back home, the family encountered some issues.
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“The flight attendant came up to me and told me I couldn’t sit there,” Weasel explained. “And at that time she told me the dog could not be sitting, that the dog had to be under the seat."
"I told the attendant: 'He's 110lbs, I don't think he'll be able to get under there,' and she said 'well, exactly. That's why you're not flying on this plane,'" Weasel said, according to the Daily Mail.
"She then said: 'Is he really a service dog, if he was then he would know the command 'under' and be trained to go under the seat,'" Weasel added.
Weasel said they complied with whatever orders the flight attendant gave them, but the flight attendant still called management.
“The manager said she doesn’t want you on this plane,” Weasel said the attendant told her.
Weasel said they were asked to get off the plane. They spent their Thanksgiving in Charlotte trying to rebook another flight. She said American Airlines eventually put them in a hotel room and re-booked them for a Friday flight. However, the flight was to St. Louis, an airport about three hours away from their home.
“It was just very unfortunate that this flight attendant was not trained in knowing how to accommodate people with special needs,” Weasel added.
"We are aware of this issue and apologize to the passenger," an American Airlines spokesperson said in a statement. "Our customer relations team is reaching out to the passenger directly. We are looking into the issue with PSA Airlines, the regional carrier who operated that flight."
Weasel said no one from the airline personally reached out to her. They offered her a $150 voucher after she called to inform them of the incident.
“I just wanted to share our story so that this hopefully won’t happen to anybody else,” Weasel said.