Denied flight with dog, army veteran sues American Airlines

Published on : Monday, October 31, 2016

American AirlinesLisa McCombs who is an army veteran was trying to board her flight of American Airlines last year. She was heading towards her home in Gulfport in Mississippi. She used to serve in Iraq.


While she was awaiting her flight, an airline agent suddenly walked up to her and asked her, pointing at her service dog Jake, if she was planning to board the flight along with that. She used this Labrador dog as a service dog that helped to cope with her panic and anxiety attacks. The dog is a certified disability dog.


The airline agent went on to interrogate her constantly, humiliating her in the process and making her really stressful.


In her lawsuit she mentioned that the agent, along with two others has verbally assaulted her, and kept enquiring how the dog assisted her in calming her down. The woman also told the suit that they were ‘falsifying her disability’. Moreover, their tone was quite rude. This had prompted several strangers to scold the agents who made attempts to comfort McCombs.


She also said that she felt like an ‘anxious mess’ during the interrogation. So she thought that the agents would finally come to know that she was indeed suffering from PTSD.


The agents then cursed McCombs and called the law enforcement officers.


Then, the law enforcement officers offered to take the lady to a shelter for the night after an agent asked her to leave the airport immediately.


Thereafter, McCombs booked another flight with the aid of an American customer service agent. This agent noted that Jake, the service dog she was carrying was truly a service animal. But then, to her dismay, when she arrived at the airport the situation was exactly similar to the one that had occurred the previous day.


The suit says that there has been breach of contract, violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as negligence on the part of the airline agents.


Currently, McCombs is demanding compensation for the airline tickets, medical treatment and also her legal fees. In addition, she also seeking damages from American Airlines for ‘reckless disregard of her rights’.


Finally, the lady arrived home two days after she was originally scheduled.


Jim Palmersheim, senior manager, Military and Veterans Program for American Airlines communicated to McCombs and expressed that he was very embarrassed for the behavior meted out to her. Also, he asked her if she would like to be present at an event for veterans and also if she would prefer to have some first class, international tickets.


Currently, the suit is pending.


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