After a long delay on a US Airways flight, Albert Rizzi’s guide dog, Doxy, became restless from being cramped under the seat in front of him. According to Rizzi and fellow passengers, a flight attendant insisted Doxy had to stay under the seat or the plane would turn around. When Rizzi objected, they were both kicked off the plane.
Then in an inspiring show of unity, his fellow passengers demanded Rizzi and Doxy be let back on. Instead of fixing the situation, the captain cancelled the whole flight, and all 35 passengers left the plane with Rizzi.
This story is already getting a lot of attention Wednesday is one of the biggest traveling days of the year. But US Airways is making matters worse by digging its heels in, insisting it did nothing wrong and refusing to apologize to Rizzi. So let’s join with Mr. Rizzi and his fellow passengers to pressure US Airways to change their ways — and help make sure that all airlines treat people with disabilities with dignity as they fly to see their loved ones this holiday season.
Rizzi’s fellow passengers spoke out against his treatment because they knew in their conscience what’s written in law — that airlines are supposed be as accommodating as possible to people flying with service animals; removing the animal should be a last resort..
US Airways has been so inflexible and thoughtless that they actually posted this on their Facebook page: “There certainly must be more to this story than meets the eye,” which is a horrible turn of phase when responding to their treatment of a blind passenger. And they continue to blame Rizzi’s “disruptive” behavior.
The ACLU fights for the rights of all people to live lives free of discrimination. Rizzi’s story demonstrates the mistreatment people with disabilities often face — but it also highlights the power of people joining together to speak out for what’s right. Let’s make sure Rizzi knows we’re with him and call on US Airways to make sure this never happens again.