Author Topic: Servicemember Claims Discrimination Over Service Dog On ...  (Read 177 times)

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Offline responsiblek9

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Servicemember Claims Discrimination Over Service Dog On ...
« on: December 03, 2017, 12:27:04 AM »
http://denver.cbslocal.com/2017/12/01/discrimination-claim-over-service-dog/
Servicemember Claims Discrimination Over Service Dog On ...
CBS Local-Dec 1, 2017
Shortly after, he started using a certified service animal. Brode says things started to escalate when a gate agent criticized him for not alerting the airline that he had a service animal for his flight. The confrontation continued onboard. Brode says he was constantly harassed for having a service animal and ...
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Re: Servicemember Claims Discrimination Over Service Dog On ...
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2017, 06:33:54 AM »
He didn't tell them in advance he had an SD as legally required. So they asked him more questions. How did he find a lawyer to take this case? Is he just hoping the airline will settle?
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Offline SandyStern

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Re: Servicemember Claims Discrimination Over Service Dog On ...
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2017, 10:12:17 AM »
I'm pretty sure you don't have to give advance notice, but you'd be foolish not to since it helps the airline accommodate you.  I suspect that what happened here is that the gate agent said something, and the handler got huffy about it, and then it was all downhill from there.  As I heard a judge say to a defendant once, if you go looking for trouble, you'll usually find it. 

I wish the airlines weren't so quick to settle this kind of case because it fosters the mistaken belief that if anyone makes an ill-considered remark to a SD handler, the handler gets a free pass to behave badly. In court, it wouldn't matter so much how you got to the point where the person was removed from the flight.  If he was yelling or making a scene, he gets removed.

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Re: Servicemember Claims Discrimination Over Service Dog On ...
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2017, 10:36:36 AM »
Sandy, I'm not positve about other types of service dog but PSDs are legally obligated to notify the airline at least 48 hours in advance of the flight.
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Offline SandyStern

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Re: Servicemember Claims Discrimination Over Service Dog On ...
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2017, 12:44:25 PM »
Ah. I missed that part of the story.

Offline LolaMarigolda

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Re: Servicemember Claims Discrimination Over Service Dog On ...
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2017, 01:47:03 PM »
Plus, if you want bulkhead, you have to ask for a pre-board pass.  SW changed their computer system in the last 6 months so that the pre-board shows up on the actual ticket right beside where having a SD shows up.

I've got a feeling that one of two things went down: 

1.  He didn't give 48hrs notice and it's a PSD
2.  He didn't check the SD box when making his reservation, printed out his boarding pass online (which means he didn't have to go by the desk where they would have seen the dog), and that is what caused an issue at the gate (the dog not being on the manifest or on his ticket).
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Servicemember Claims Discrimination Over Service Dog On ...
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2017, 02:01:24 PM »
You don't have to give 48 hours advanced notice for a non-PSD but it's just common sense to do so anyway.  I always do it.  It makes air travel smoother and easier.

I suppose an airline could theoretically make a case that having a SD on board was an accommodation but I kinda doubt that would work in court.  I mean it IS an accommodation and for an accommodation that requires some action from the airline you need to give them 48 hours to get their ducks in a row.  Hence the 48 hours for the PSDs and ESAs because that gives them time to review the letter and contact the issuing doctor if they so choose for verification.  The thing is, they don't actually need to do anything with regard to the animal itself, so they don't need advanced notice to prep.

I dispute that they would need advanced notice for pre-boarding and suspect that this point is either unclear in Southwest's policy or unenforcable (not legal).  If I show up at the gate and request pre-boarding before they start boarding people, they're supposed to let me preboard.  That part is written into the ACAA regulations and I don't think they can get around that because again it doesn't take them any extra effort to grant it.  Advanced notice for bulkhead, yes, I can see that, but not for pre-boarding.

====

On this story, I'd like more information on what he describes as "harassment."  Once they decide to let him board without advanced notice (which they can decide to do even for a PSD if they choose to), then that's the end of that discussion.  So if they were berating him for not giving the advanced notice, that would be a problem.  However, if the argument about whether advanced notice was required was ongoing, like maybe they said this time they'd let it go but in future he had to have the advanced notice and he wants to keep arguing that point, well that's in his control.  He doesn't have to argue.  So if that is what happened then it wasn't them harrassing him but the reverse.  Once they let him on the plane, he needed to shut up about it, just like they needed to shut up about it.

This is assuming it was about advanced notice, which we're guessing based on the statistics of frequency of airline disputes with veterans with PSDs.  Based on those stats, it's reasonably to hypothesize that this was the cause of the dispute, but we don't actually know.  The story gives us very few actual facts.  Just a claim that the airline was mean to him without describing what it was that they supposedly did wrong so we could make any sort of assessment of whether what they did seems wrong to us or not.  Just not enough data to form an opinion.
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