My little red tether is my anchor in running with my friends. A beautiful guide dog has been my tether/anchor in mobility and independence for 17 years: 1. Pantera 2. Cricket, and now my beautiful 3. Georgina (Georgie). A life of family and friends is my joy and anchor in life.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. CC Scott

Sunday, April 26, 2009

If you'd like to respond ...

Thanks to all who have rendered their support. As I mentioned, this could have been alleviated very simply with the Delta supervisor managing the situation and educating the flight attendant that because of the ADA this guide dog was allowed on the plane in her assigned seat. The supervisor could also have reassured this flight attendant that a guide dog (or any service animal is expected to be) well behaved and not going to disturb her or any other passenger. Training from the top down would be helpful in this situation so that it doesn't get to the point that ours did. If you would like to send a letter to Delta to share this experience (or others you might have had) their address is:
Delta Airlines, Corporate Customer Care, PO Box 20980, Department 980, Atlanta, GA 30320, Fax 888-286-3163 or phone: 404-715-2600. I was on Flight # 4693 from Portland to SLC. I do believe it is my responsibility to continue to educate in an assertive way so that these kind of situations can be a thing of the past! After one of these experiences, I always want to make an effort so that the chance of it happening to someone else is lessened.


OSU 98 said...

This whole situation is just insane...and I am not sure that word can adequately even describe it!

1. That some supervisor did not immediately address the issue with the flight attendant is totally unacceptable and represents a lack of training on the part of the airline.

2. That someone said the things they said to you from a customer service perspective is appalling as well.

3. I am always weary of people who don't like animals.

4. The ignorance of the public in general reagrding the role of service dogs and the impact they have on their partner's life is something I will continue to work to change at every opportunity.

Being that it is my job to tactfully write reports that tell people their processes are broken, I have no problem writing Delta and telling them their process in this situation is clearly DYSFUNCTIONAL!!! Give me a few days to calm down about the situation and then I will be much more effective in giving them a piece of my mind. :) Tactfully of course....

Anna said...

Wow that's really frustrating! I will definitely write to them, too!

s day said...

Oh they will get an ear full, an envelope full, and an email full from me! Don't worry, I won't embarrass you... just myself :) I would have loved to be there to stick up for you!!!!!! Good jOb.

Dr Vail said...

Hi Becky,

I just heard about your awful experience with Delta at PDX! Sounds like you heard about mine as well...

A week prior, on April 18th, my husband and I were flying from PDX to SLC on Delta for a vacation. I received permission from GDB for Ross (puppy in training) to join us. I read Delta's policy prior to confirming the tickets, and did not find anything regarding issues with service dogs in training. I then called and added Ross to our reservation. When we checked in at the ticket counter, the woman saw Ross and was very friendly and had no issue with him. We had no issues going through security either. We had arrived plenty early to handle any issues that may have arisen. As we were boarding the plane, I handed our boarding passes to a male attendant at the gate. He asked what service Ross was providing for me, and I was forthcoming in stating that he was not providing a service, I was training him. The man denied Ross from boarding the plane, stating their policy doesn't allow "pets" loose in the cabin. As I tried to explain that he is not a "pet," that I do not own him, and that he is a service dog in training, the man rudely argued with me, stating that he is only a service dog if he is providing me a service, and he continued to refuse to allow Ross on the plane. He then phoned headquarters and told them that I was trying to board the plane with my "pet" and read the policy he was quoting to the person on the other end of the phone, stating, "That's the policy. She can't take her dog on the plane." Never did he acknowledge Ross' excellent manners, that he is not a "pet", nor did he even think about asking anyone else if it might be acceptable. Ross, of course, was perfectly behaved the entire time, and I tried to be professional as well, representing GDB and service dogs in general.

I understand that pups in training do not have the same access rights as working service dogs, but it was the way I was treated that upset me. I had taken all of the steps I was supposed to for this to be a successful trip. I had Ross' ID with me, as well as his health certificate. I did not misrepresent myself or my dog. The attendant was a complete jerk, and this experience certainly turned me off to Delta.

I was sure to let the Delta staff know that Ross had flown on Alaska with me just 3 months prior, and they were nothing but welcoming and friendly.

As a puppy raiser, I feel that it is important for me to prepare my pup as best as possible for his work as a Guide Dog, and flying in cabin is just one example. Though not a necessary experience, graduates of my previous dogs have been comforted to know that the dog had flown previously and successfully, before their first flight home. Plus, I would rather advocate for you and hope you don't have to deal with the jerks too! I was ticked off about how I was treated, but absolutely astonished at how you were treated! Good for you for standing your ground! And of course Cricket was well behaved!

I will also be sure to let Delta know how poorly I was treated...


Becky said...

Nicole - Thank you for the beautiful letter you wrote (I wish I could articulate like that!)

Anna - Thank you for your support and writing a letter as well.

Shannon - Hope you are having an amazing time in Switzerland - wow, thanks for your support.

Whitney - I am SO sorry to hear about your experience as well. I hope our efforts will help this not happen again to you, me or anyone else.