A boy who depends on his service dog for his serious medical condition was thrown off a flight. Instead of getting home for Thanksgiving, the family was stuck in a hotel room trying to figure out what to do. The child’s mother is speaking out in hopes that it won’t happen again.
The Indiana family decided to take a vacation to Myrtle Beach, and return home on Thanksgiving. Bryant Weasel, 11, was traveling with his service dog, Chug. Bryant has Dravet Syndrome, a seizure syndrome resistant to medications.
Chug plays an important role in Bryant’s health care and accompanies the child everywhere. “He’s able to detect seizures before they happen and then he’s able to assist when he’s actually having a seizure,” said mom Amy Weasel.
Mrs. Weasel wanted to ensure there wouldn’t be any problems, so she contacted American Airlines ahead of time to ensure Chug would be able to accompany Bryant on the flight. She also submitted all the requested documents in advance. On the flights to Myrtle Beach, and on one plane going home, the family had no problems.
On the connecting flight that would bring them back to Indiana, a stewardess forced the family off the flight because of Chug.
The flight attendant first had the family move to different seats. The family complied. The flight attendant then insisted Chug be under the seat. It was difficult, but with the aid of some treats they got the 110-pound dog curled up under the seat.
When management boarded the plane, the flight attendant approached the family one last time. “The manager said she doesn’t want you on this plane,” she told Weasel.
The Weasel family spent Thanksgiving in a motel room trying to get a new flight. The only flight the airline could get them on during the busy holiday season was one to a Missouri airport more than three hours away from their home.
“It was just very unfortunate that this flight attendant was not trained in knowing how to accommodate people with special needs,” says Weasel.
American Airlines put out a public statement of apology, but Weasel said no one reached out to her personally. When she called, someone offered her a $150 voucher.
“I just wanted to share our story so that this hopefully won’t happen to anybody else,” said the mom.