Woman sues American Airlines.
A lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Florida alleges American Airlines locked a woman’s emotional support dog in a bathroom after previously confirming it would be allowed to travel with her.
Avigail Diveroli wrote in the lawsuit that she suffers from severe anxiety and had twice checked with the airline to ensure her “medically necessary” support dog, Simba, would be allowed to travel with her on her flight from Miami to Los Angeles in April.
Diveroli claims a flight attendant shouted at her that the dog could not be in the cabin under FAA regulations, and went on to downgrade her from business class and lock the dog in a bathroom.
“Throughout the whole ordeal, other flight attendants kept walking over to Plaintiff and apologizing, saying [the flight attendant] is a ‘sour apple’ and that this [animals within the cabin] is a known issue for her,” the lawsuit states.
“In this case, the customer’s dog was traveling as a pet rather than an emotional support animal or service animal,” American Airlines said in a statement to USA Today.
“FAA regulations require pets to stay in kennels that fit under the seat, however, this kennel didn’t fit under the seat. The flight crew tried to handle the situation in accordance with FAA regulations,” the airline added.
“Also, this travel was booked on a 777, which doesn’t allow pets in the premium cabin. Our team at the airport in Miami offered to rebook the passenger on a later flight, but they declined, and opted to take a seat with the pet in the main cabin,” the statement reads/
The airline revised its emotional support animal policy in March to restrict them to cats and dogs and require them to be accompanied with veterinary health forms showing up-to-date vaccinations. The Department of Transportation issued its own guidance for support and emotional service animals earlier this month.