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Blind N.Y. man allegedly kicked off plane over guide dog; passengers exit in solidarity

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NEW YORK Passengers aboard a U.S. Airways Express flight staged an apparent revolt Wednesday night in support of a fellow traveler who is legally blind, CBS New York reports. The flight was about to take off from Philadelphia heading to Long Island's MacArthur Airport when Albert Rizzi said he was confronted by a flight attendant because his guide dog wouldn't stay under his seat. (www.cbsnews.com) 기타...

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PhotoFinish
That an entire planeload of passengers walked off the plane in protest of the flight crew member's behavior not only says quite a lot about the flight attendant's behavior toward the blind man and his dog (and none if it good), but also shows that peope can self- sacrifice and put justice and the needs of a disadvantaged person being abused ahead of their need to get to their destination.
canuck44
canuck44 6
Now we just have to sit back and listen to the lies and excuses from US Air...much like the ones I heard last summer when they cancelled two flights in a row from YHZ to Phillie.
yr2012
Mr Rizze and his dog can fly up front with me anytime.
STLPilot2
Medical service dogs are not required to be "under" the seat. They may occupy the floor in front of the passenger's seat or, if there is an empty seat next to the passenger, most flight crews have no problem if the dog occupies the floor in front of the empty seat.

I fly with a service dog and it is amazing how ill informed the gate and flight crews are about ADA law.
intellichance
Airlines are not governed by the ADA. The ACAA covers air carriers. And yes, service animals DO have to occupy a space under the seat in front of them, if possible, so as not to impede a passenger's feet in case of an emergency evacuation.
intellichance
How awesome for people to put their own personal needs aside in solidarity to support a disabled fellow passenger.
vincentvan
In spite of the certain negative posts on here...I applaud the passengers on that flight. It is rare, in this day and age, to see such a group stand up for what they believe in, for what is right!
tyketto
The FA definitely needs retraining, as her actions did violate the ADA and ACAA. As the husband of someone who is blind and has a guide dog, I wonder what seat this passenger had. Normally, they get bulkhead seating, and row 1 at the best, so issues like this are prevented. There wouldn't be a seat for the dog to crawl out to under his legs.

I feel for the passenger, but would equally be humbled and overwhelmed that the others on the flight stood up for him. I wonder if they all got their money back from their tickets.
PhotoFinish
"I wonder if they all got their money back from their tickets."

US Airways took them to their destination by bus.
petesjet1
The man did not ask to be blind! He has the same rights as any American citizen regardless of any challenges he or anyone else may face.I don't feel the dog represented any safety issue.Most service dogs are trained to stay right beside their owners.When I was a kid,I had a heart condition that would cause me to collapse without warning.My parents got me a dog that was trained to alert them by barking.That dog saved my life a couple of times. I couldn't possibly imagine being denied the right to having him by my side.Kudos to the passengers for standing up for the man! P.S. I have since fully recovered from my condition and became a pilot.(Achieved my childhood dream.)
bizjets101
biz jets 4
I would like to see a press follow up and name the crew involved - at least they should be suspended and publicly shamed.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 3
Or flogged!!!
bizjets101
biz jets 3
Flogged, I like that.
n7224e
For those who have experience flying with service dogs: Wouldn't the fact that he needed special accommodation for his dog have come up when he purchased his ticket?

The service dogs I've seen are very well cared for (not to mention among the best trained dogs you'll find). Given some of the people I've had the misfortune to be seated next to, I'd much rather be next to one of these dogs on a flight.
tyketto
It should have, and should have been mentioned at least 4 times:

1) when he purchased the ticket (whether online, over the phone, or at the airport),
2) when he checked in,
3) when he arrived at the gate, and
4) seated on the aircraft because to be honest, accommodating a guide dog would trump assigned seating, because the safety of both the passenger and the dog would be more important than the perks and benefits of First or Business Class.

Again, it is quite apparent that the FA had no idea on how to handle service animals, and needs to be retrained.
pdixonj
pdixonj -2
There's no requirement for an airline to offer a passenger with a service animal any type of upgrade to first or business class...it may be a nice gesture (and only if allowed by the airline), but it's not mandatory.
tyketto
No-one said anything about an upgrade for the passenger with a service animal to First Class. However the ACAA does dictate that the service animal should by preference be located in the bulkhead section of the aircraft. Normally that would mean Row 1, which on airlines without open seating, means their First Class or Business class section. In short, that person with that First class ticket may get reseated to accommodate that service animal. In this case with it being a guide dog, chances are it was one of 5 breeds:

Yellow Labrador
Black Labrador
Golden Retriever
Golden/Lab cross
German Shepherd

Not something that can easily fit under some other passenger's seat.
pdixonj
pdixonj 0
Any passenger with a service animal who holds an economy ticket and is given a bulkhead seat in a premium cabin "is" considered an upgrade. It would be different if the passenger already had a first/business class non-bulkhead seat and was simply asking to be reseated to a bulkhead. In any case, some airlines do have bulkhead seats in their economy sections, but as you said, placement of a service animal in those seats is a "preference", not a requirement, as those same bulkhead seats may be occupied by other disabled passengers or those traveling on a premium economy ticket in a seat which "has not" been designated as a priority seat for a disabled passenger.
pdixonj
pdixonj -2
From what I understand, after reading the news reports, the seat given to the man and his service animal was not the issue...service animals can generally occupy any seat that's not an "exit" seat, so long as the animal can fit within the confines of it's owner's floor space. The issue was that the FA felt the animal wasn't staying under the seat in front of it's owner.
Moviela
I am offended that my country needs laws to enforce the humane treatment of the disabled.
N1771V
Keith you are a jerk.
bizjets101
biz jets 1
http://flightaware.com/live/flight/PDT4183/history/20131113/2110Z/KPHL/KISP
PhotoFinish
US Airways took them to their destination by bus.
yr2012
Which in itself is a blessing. That hop is operated by Piedmont
pilot62
Make the crew be coffee runners for Doug for a year then they can mow his lawn or something
danishnelson
Some people have to remember that animals are living this too. Dogs as of those breeds are well behaved and have to be treated with equal care as humans. So when someone tires to take away that freedom, then I see why people did what they did. Something has to be done to compensate the passengers and something needs to be done about that flight attendant.
pilot62
It's all Doug Parkers fault, Crap rolls downhill
overtime111
Glad to see you all are awake wonderful comments I might add. What I mean is a blind person needs their service dog I get that and most guide dogs have had very specialized training, are well mannered and curl up at their owners feet . Not so of the so called comfort dogs the have no special training and all their owners need is a doctors note saying they need the dog to settle their nerves while flying and wala you have your everyday mutt riding in the cabin among people who paid good money to buy that ticket these same people may be severly allergic to dogs , they may be terrified of them or they may just not care for them. My question or compliant if that's what you want to call it is why should I pay good money for my seat and have to endure two or three hours with some dog shedding on my clothes and shoes or worse yet fido takes a dump.WHAT HAPPENED TO MY RIGHTS? I believe there is medication to calm a persons nerves or other forms of transport. As for weather they fly free or not I think that is up to the individual airline.put them in a kennel and down below after all they are dogs not humans. Just to clarify I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT SERVICE OR SEEING EYE DOGS I AM TALKING ABOUT THE PERSON WITH THE 60 POUND PIT BULL THAT IS THEIR COMFORT DOG!!!
wasclywabbit
What about my right not to have to be subjected to a post full of bad grammar, run on sentences, overt whining and a general tone of self righteous indignation?
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
You have no rights, only animals have rights!!!
overtime111
That does seem to be the way it is .

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

CyranoSmith
In a more civil tone: do you have an example of what you are talking about, Keith? Or are you merely blowing smoke?
PhotoFinish
I'm so glad the passengers stood up for the blind man's rights. It's moments like these that restore belief in the occasional goodness of mankind.

But I have encountered person(s) who pretend their pet is a service dog to get special treatment, and have admitted to playing the system. Such non-disabled individuals abuse of the system set up to more easily accommodate those who live with disabilities, is just as bad as the flight attendant's treatment of the blind man.
STLPilot2
A dog that is used to comfort a passenger is a not, repeat "NOT" a medical service dog and are not flown free of charge. Medical service dogs are for real and trained for their jobs. You do not even have your facts straight.
pdixonj
pdixonj 2
Shane's correct, while emotional support animals are different from medical service animals, they "can" be be transported free of charge, but they must be trained to behave properly in public settings, just as service animals are.
shanebratel
Yes they are. It's called an emotional support animal. Check Southwest
overtime111
If you need that much emotional support to travel stay home or get medication. What's next if someone needs to have there pet boa or tarantula the that would be ok or does this only apply to warm fuzzy creatures.
shanebratel
Only applies to warm fuzzy creatues =)

[This poster has been suspended.]

THRUSTT
THRUSTT 2
Washburn's got his own opinion like the rest of us. He obviously does not like dogs next to him, but there's no reason to call him vulgar names on this site even though we don't agree with him...

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

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