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COMPLAINT: Denied Flight With Service Dog

 
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 12:42 AM
service dog service dog is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
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On Saturday, 12-01-12, I had a flight scheduled from Chicago Midway, to Washington Dulles. Since I was travelling with a service dog, I had pre-arranged the fact that I would be doing so with the Customer Service Department. This was done not once, but twice. Having flown several times before on Southwest with my service dog, I did not have any real concerns. However, upon attempting to check in at the ticket counter, the clerk Janet L. took one look at my dog, a German Shepherd, and asked if the dog was in training? The vest he was wearing had a patch that stated as much. I told her NO, he is NOT in training." That "I had simply grabbed the wrong vest when hurrying out the door at 5:00 a.m. to try to avoid the massive TSA lines at Midway. "Well I can not let him fly!" I was shocked at this statement. I informed this minion of a clerk that "I had flown Southwest many times before with the same dog and the SAME VEST!" She proceeded to inform me that "It was Southwest's policy not to allow service dogs in training to fly." I could see that I was getting nowhere with this opinionated and self serving employee. I asked to speak to her supervisor. I was told that it would take several minutes to get a supervisor to speak with me. I replied "Well I am obviously not going anywhere quick, I have no choice but to wait." The clerk left her post to go and retrieve the supervisor. She was gone an inordinant amount of time. Probably filling the supervisor in on the situation. After about 10 minutes, the clerk returned with her supervisor. He simply reiterated the statement that Southwest does not allow service dogs in training to fly. Again, she was told, he was not in training, and that his sticker had nothing to do with anything. That they had better come up with something that will protect them from an encounter with the Department of Justice, ADA. I was informed that Southwest does not have to follow Federal Laws in regard to service dogs. The two were informed that they were breaking Federal Law, and that Southwest's policies do not supercede Federal Law!! They were not moved. The supervisor asked my last name and proceeded to find my flight history on her computer. Excuse me.... did I lie about flying before with a service dog. Another supervisor was requested. By this time Janet L. was a bit uncomfortable. As it should be. I was met by not one, but two supervisors, Alan M. and Debbie N. that took about 15 minutes to come to the counter. I was asked to produce my documentation on my dog. Again, a violation of ADA law. I produced the documentation, replayed the same conversation. My doctor was given a phone call to verify the letter I carry with me signed by him. My trainer was spoken to by cell phone. All was in order with the exception that I was informed by an employee, through one of the two supervisors that the supervisors called in Dallas, named James, that "the dog could not fly." Again, quoting ADA law had absolutely no affect on these people. They were told they were breaking federal law. They were told I could take his patch off the vest. Nope. They could care less. They were playing the hard nosed, Southwest employee scenario. "Its my job, and I have to obey Southwest policy." We were escorted to the Delta Airline ticket counter. And I must say, I was never treated better!!
However, upon my return home, of course WITH my dog on Delta Airlines, I called Southwest Airlines Customer Relations to lodge a complaint. After speaking to a series of employees starting on the bottom rung of the sea of rungs in the minion pool, I finally reached a Miles G. At first I actually thought I had reached a person with a fair amount of intellect. I was wrong. This person had his hands tied with limited ability to satisfy the customer with what ever it took. Not here, no way. He was told a lawsuit would be filed. He was asked to research the reason for a medical alert service dog. He was asked to simply have an open mind and to put himself in my shoes. The more I talked to this Miles G. the more I realized I was wasting my time. He was not the one that was going to simply fulfill my request. I was offered a whopping 600 points on my Rapid Reward card. No thank you, he was told. I will not be flying Southwest any time soon. This seemed to move him a bit. More so than the entire issue of not being allowed to fly with my service dog in the first place. What is to prevent this from happening again??? Do you really think I want to be humiliated and embarassed again in public with my dog. His response was one that belongs in the annals of ignorance log book. "Well we didnt say you could not fly, just your dog!" Now, what the heck was I supposed to do with my dog? Send him home in a taxi. Have him wait in the cell phone lot until my return? After that, he was simply informed that I needed the address to their legal department. That I can not believe that he did not try to settle this matter by agreeing to refund my airfare on Delta of $650.00 in the interest of settling this without further legal action. Nope!! Miles G. was just another clone in the Southwest army. Not given enough authority or training to handle a job he thought he had enough training.... (oops, uh, there is that word again) to perform. Maybe he shouldnt be allowed to report to work until he is trained!

A lawsuit is being filed against Southwest on Friday, 12-7-12.
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Old Apr 7, 2013, 7:34 PM
AirlineSympathizer AirlineSympathizer is offline
 
Join Date: May 2012
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link us to the lawsuit you filed.
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