We returned home this evening from Portland (ah, such a beautiful place with wonderful people and this weekend we added some more memories and friends to share - such beauty to share in our next post). This post is about our experience on the flight home. This flight was Cricket's 30th plane ride as a working girl! Fortunately, most of these flights have been pretty uneventful and smooth (with helpful people along the way). Yes, a few incidents of added challenges that have had to exercise my assertive and advocacy skills. Tonight began as pretty uneventful - Debi had gotten clearance to walk me to the gate and we were sitting there spending our final minutes talking when a attendant from Delta (yes, I will say my most frustrating experiences have been on Delta)came up and said ... I am sorry our flight attendant is scared of dogs and we will need to move your seat. (It was a small plane and I was in bulk head). I calmly said that I needed to keep the seat I had been given. He said he would go talk to the flight attendant and maybe if the flight attendant met my dog she would be okay ... I said, that would be fine ... but I would be getting on this plane. He came back after a few minutes and said -- I'm sorry but she cannot let you on the plane! I again said, I will be on the plane and you might want to educate her on the Americans with Disabilities Act - I also told him she certainly did not need to get close to my dog at all and that my dog would not bother her at all. He again went to talk to her on the plane (by this time it was time to board so I was concerned we were going to be holding up the plane). Finally a CRO officer came to talk to her and informed her that she needed to allow me on the plane. By this time I was shaking but mustered all my courage and knew that this was a time I needed to assert myself and not allow a flight attendant who was afraid of dogs not allow me to get on the plane.
I am so grateful for the Americans with Disabilities Act!
I boarded the plane and she would not talk to me ... except on a couple ocassions she let me know Cricket's tail was in the foot room of the seat next to me (which by the way no one was sitting in that seat!) I find my assertive skills are tested at times with a Guide Dog ... I can totally respect her dog issue and my guide dog was not going to enter into her space at all ... but she also must respect our right to board the plane and sit in our seat. I will be writing to Delta and alerting them of the unnecessary situation. (I'll post the addres for others that want to write also) It is my responsibility to continue to educate. These unnecessary experiences are happening still too often. We will always remember Cricket's Flight #30.