A disabled veteran was taken off of a plane in Phoenix for security reasons following an argument with airline staff. The unidentified man didn’t want his service dog on the ground for the flight and video of the incident has been posted online.
The unidentified man wanted his service dog, a 100-pound golden retriever, on the empty seat next to him because he said the dog was too big to sit on the floor by his feet, according to KTAR.
The man apologized to the other passengers, but refused to make the dog stay on the floor and said he’d rather be taken off the flight in handcuffs. He was eventually led off the plane by police.
“I’m sorry folks, but I’ve earned the right to have this service animal because of my service to this country in Vietnam,” the veteran reportedly announced. “I am 100 percent disabled, I have a service dog because of it and everyone has to obey the ADA laws except this airline! So I’m sorry, but I’m not budging!”
According to US Airways, service animals are to stay on the ground and under the seat in front of the passenger.
“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,” said US Airways spokesman John McDonald.
McDonald reportedly added that the safety of other passengers were at risk in this situation. The veteran told airport personnel he suffered from PTSD. They worried he would get even more upset in the air.
“We had had conversations to the customer trying to explain what was going on,” said McDonald. “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.”
Airport police cited the man with trespassing and booked him on another flight, which left a day later. US Airways covered the cost for a hotel room for the night.
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