Army veteran Lisa McCombs is suing American Airlines in a federal lawsuit, alleging that the airline subjected her to harassment when she tried to bring her service dog on board a flight home to Mississippi.
McCombs flew to Manhattan, Kan., almost a year ago, Oct. 25, 2015.
The first leg of her journey occurred without incident. But when she tried to return using American Airlines regional carrier Envoy Air, she was denied entry onto the plane with her service dog and was forced to stay in Manhattan for two days, The Sun Herald reports.
Apparently a flight agent in the Manhattan airport walked up to McCombs and said, “Ummmm, you’re not trying to fly with that that?” directing her remarks at McCombs and her dog Jake, a black lab service dog. The agent wanted to see documentation, but would not say what kind of documentation. McCombs was then told by a supervisor she couldn’t travel with Jake, unless she wanted to fork out $125 for him to travel as cargo. Alternatively, she could wait two days and submit new documentation to try again.
Her lawyers are saying American Airlines and Envoy Air violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, among other legal issues like negligence and breach of contract.
McCombs was honorably discharged from the Army as a captain after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, which left her with PTSD. That’s when she decided to bring Jake into her life.
“When Jake senses that Ms. McCombs is about to experience high anxiety and/or a panic attack,” the lawsuit reads, “Jake moves his body into close contact with Ms. McCombs to distract her attention away from the factors that may cause her panic to spike, and calm her.”
McCombs had to book a flight through Delta to get out of Kansas, but then a representative from American Airlines called her and said she could definitely take a flight home with Jake.
A day after McCombs got home, the senior manager of Military and Veteran Initiatives from American Airlines called her to apologize profusely, but that apparently has not proved enough.
McCombs’ lawyer declined to give further details to Army Times about the unfolding lawsuit.
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