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Airline Refuses to Allow Working Dog on Flight

File Photo.

Phoenix, Arizona – Kevin, a 6-year old German Shepherd, was denied boarding on a U.S. Airways flight to Charlotte, North Carolina on September 1 because the pilot feared the dog might be aggressive.

Normally, airlines who allow dogs in the passenger cabin on commercial flights have a size limit; the pet must fit in an airline-approved carrier that fits in the under-seat stowage area for carry-on luggage. Obviously a German shepherd would not meet this requirement, so why was Kevin attempting to fly in the passenger compartment anyway? Because Kevin is a military dog who served two tours in Afghanistan and was on his way to the Democratic National Convention for bomb-sniffing duty.

Kevin usually flies on commercial flights sitting in the row of seats next to the bulkhead with his Navy handler. Until September 1, this arrangement has not been a problem for anyone. But on this evening, as Kevin and his handler were boarding a U.S. Airways flight out of Phoenix,
Arizona, the pilot asked the handler “if the dog was trained to attack.” It is against military policy for handlers to give information about the training of their dogs, so when the handler didn’t provide enough details about Kevin’s skill set, the pilot refused to allow the dog on the flight.

U.S. Airways spokesman Andrew Christie defended the pilot’s decision, saying, “During the boarding process, the captain asked the passenger if the dog was an attack dog. The passenger answered ‘sometimes.’ Out of caution, the captain denied boarding. We don’t transport attack dogs.”

Christie believes that if the handler had been more specific about the dog’s training, the pilot would not have denied them boarding.

“Had he said the dog was a bomb-sniffing dog, there wouldn’t have been a problem,” he said.

The U.S. Marshals service was notified about the incident. The misunderstanding was eventually worked out, but since it was too late for Kevin to fly that evening, Kevin had to remain overnight in Phoenix. He and the handler were allowed to fly on another US Airways flight the following morning.

Kevin spent the next three days checking vehicles for explosives at police checkpoints near the Charlotte venue where the Democratic National Convention was held. Presumably his work performance did not suffer due to the incident in Phoenix.

Story by Mikki Hooven

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sindi
sindi
8 years ago

If the was that afraid, he could have asked him to be nozzled.

Patrick Teague
8 years ago
Reply to  sindi

i believe you mean muzzeled.

tina b
tina b
8 years ago

Thats a crap of bullshit cus they have da dogs in a area that noone can get in there n away from that dumb pilot! Wat stupi airline was that? N wat moron listens to da pilot!

Jimmy24
Jimmy24
8 years ago
Reply to  tina b

Can someone translate this to English please?

Dawn Fabbri
8 years ago
Reply to  Jimmy24

my sentiments exactly???

tina b
tina b
8 years ago

Oh ok us airlines huh, shame on yas cus even if a dog is trained KILLER it WONT attac till it is commanded to.!!!!!!

kendraro
kendraro
8 years ago

this is the second time I have heard of MWD having problems flying just in the past couple of weeks, it seems like these airlines need some education/guidelines in place so that this is not an issue. these dogs and their handlers are our heroes, they should not be having to deal with constant aggravation from the airlines just to get to their jobs.

nkruger
nkruger
8 years ago

It is despicable that any airline would deny boarding to any type of service dog. Was the pilot so ignorant about the training of dogs that he would not know that even attack dogs will not attack unless given the attack word by their handler! perhaps this airline needs to send their pilots to a training academy so they are educated about what a service dog is really like!

Jessica Swaim Harding
8 years ago

wow thats imo the same as asking a soldier whether he has killed in action then denying him passage for not giving enough detail…. just kind of all around a stupid incident.

Shannon Krasowski
Shannon Krasowski
8 years ago

Ridiculous. I would like to know the name of the airline as I would NEVER again travel with them. I am sharing this with my friends, most of whom have dogs. This was a working dog non-the-less. The airline show be ashamed!

Shannon Krasowski
Shannon Krasowski
8 years ago

What is the name of this airline?

Kenn at Dog Files
8 years ago

It’s in the story. U.S. Airways.

PawsThenPlay
PawsThenPlay
8 years ago

Some of this misunderstanding is no doubt due to the fact that some people just slap a vest on their dog and “pretend” it is a service animal (which is illegal). When that animal is out of control, it reflects poorly on the entire service animal community unfortunately.

San Diego Dog Wash
8 years ago

Kevin is a highly trained service dog. There should’ve been nothing wrong with him riding the plane with his trainer. Didn’t they check the number of commercial flights Kevin has ridden before?

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