Travelling with Service Dogs

Hey airline industry “wake up.” Yes, you at the reservations counter. No, you don’t have an exception and you do not get to rewrite the law. If I am in a wheelchair you cannot charge me excess baggage for my wheelchair and yes the German Shepherd beside me is a service dog. What’s that? No, I’m not blind. What’s that you say? No blindness, is not the only illness they use animals for.

Have the airlines not heard of the Americans with disabilities Act? Aaaarrrgghhh

I have just found out that from September 4th to 9th I am holidaying in Los Angeles. For most of you readers that means you throw a few things in bag, catch a cab to JFK and a short online movie later you land in the City of Angels!

If however you’re a wheelchair user and have a service dog it goes like this. You call the airline and wait on hold for 20 minutes then spend 30 minutes convincing the operator you don’t want to take your pet with you, it’s a medically prescribed service dog. She then guarantees you a direct connection to their Special Services Department, translation another 20 minutes on hold listening to a Jersey Shore or some other B grade actor extol the virtues of booking online? What’s with that, are they trying to guilt you into hanging up and booking online?

Anyway you finally get through and then you spend another 20 minutes explaining thatno it’s not a pet, no a German Shepherd doesn’t fit in a cute carry on bag and yes I know they miniature all kinds of dogs these days but not German Shepherds. So finally you explain the Americans with Disabilities Act is not a off Broadway show, it actually guarantees rights and one of them is the right to travel with a service animal. Then they get cocky and put on a manager who tries to tell you, like he is on celebrity apprentice, that they don’t care about the ADA or the ABC, they have their own rules.

So you demand his superior, and after almost two hours of Laurel and Hardy meets snooki you think you’re getting somewhere but that somewhere is, yes you got it, a voice mail promising a call back in 5 working days!!!!! Tough luck if I want to fly tomorrow.

Wake up airlines, the Americans with Disabilities Act is not negotiable. Our dignity is not negotiable, but every right under the American constitution is ours and we’ll damn well take them.

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