MEMO to American Airlines: Before you kids get the confetti ready and fill up all those helium balloons to celebrate your merger with U.S. Airways, you may want to pay attention to this story about your bunk mates and their attitude toward the disabled.
Albert is blind and Doxy is a registered service dog. Brutal looking, isn’t she? Anywho, Rizzi flies once each month, and every time he gets on a plane, there’s his faithful companion by his side. Only this fateful day on US Airways Flight 4384, Rizzi and Doxy were escorted off the flight by gun-toting security after a heated exchange between Rizzi and some ne’er-do-well flight attendant.
According to CNN, this lively conversation in which said stewardess asked that Doxy be “placed under the seat for safety reasons,” caused such emotion among the 35 passengers on board that everyone walked off the plane with Rizzi and Doxy causing the cancellation of the flight.
Yeah, there’s more after the jump…
Although he was first to arrive on the tarmac for the flight from Philadelphia International Airport to MacArthur Airport on Long Island, Rizzi said he and his dog were the last to be seated on the plane.
He was seated in the middle of the back row looking onto the aisle with no seat in front of him for Doxy to lay under … Several passengers in Rizzi’s row offered to have the dog lay under their seats, and he was placed under the seat of the woman to his left, according to Rizzi. The plane was then delayed nearly two hours. While the plane was sitting on the runway, Doxy got up to reposition herself a few times, ending up under Rizzi’s seat against the back of the plane, Rizzi said.
It’s a dog that wanted to be close to her owner. The shame of it all, right. Evidently, this crotchety old woman took umbrage with the dog — that terrible, registered seeing-eye dog — and demanded Doxy go back to her seat, or under the nice passenger’s seat. The pilot was informed and in turn, notified the passengers in his best “back from the hot tub club” voice that the plane would be returning to the gate.
When security showed up to calm this fracas, all the passengers took their bags, followed Rizzi and probably left a few obscene finger gestures to Pollyanna, the stewardess from hell. To wit, U.S. Airways daft communications team had this to say:
“US Airways is sorry for the inconvenience, and we are looking into the situation to see if it was handled properly,” US Airways spokeswoman Liz Landau said Thursday. She added that the pilot and the flight crew elected to return to the gate due to the safety concerns caused by the actions of the dog and said Rizzi was verbally abusive to the flight attendant.
Another MEMO to PETA: Your move.