Boy With Disabilities Kicked off Flight Because of His Service Dog

An 11-year-old boy with a rare form of epilepsy and his service dog get booted from flight
WFAA 8 News/ABC

Everyone knows traveling during the holidays isn't always fun -- or smooth for that matter. Luggage gets lost. Flights get booked and cancelled. Travelers are cranky. All of this, however, does not explain why an airline booted an 11-year-old and his service dog off their flight home Thanksgiving Day -- especially when Bryant Weasel's family got approval for everyone to fly prior to traveling.

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American Airlines has some explaining to do as Amy Weasel, Bryant's mother, hopes no family will ever have to experience what hers did coming home from a trip to Myrtle Beach.

Yeah, this story is going to make you frustrated ... very frustrated.

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Like most parents who try to dodge unexpected surprises (or nightmares) while traveling, Amy did her best to plan ahead as her son Bryant has Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy, which requires him to rely on his beloved and trained service dog, Chug. (Mom says the labradoodle not only helps detect seizures but also assists Bryant when one occurs.)

With paperwork and documentation submitted to American Airlines a week before the Weasels traveled, the family was able to enjoy their time at the beach but had a rough time (to say the least) on a connecting flight from Charlotte, North Carolina back to their home in Evansville, Indiana on Thanksgiving day.

"The manager said she doesn’t want you on this plane," Amy Weasel tells WCNC Charlotte.

What bothers me about this incident is not that the Weasels were asked to move to another row or that a flight attendant asked this family to somehow fit Chug, a 110-pound dog, under the seat -- which they did.

What really makes my blood boil is how this family tried to comply with every request and were treated as if the airline didn't give them the thumbs up to travel prior to stepping foot inside the cabin. The Weasels obviously didn't seem to have a problem on any of their other flights during the trip, so was all of this really necessary? (I'd like to think the answer is no.)

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Oh, and in case you're wondering, Mom says American Airlines gave them a hotel room and booked them on a flight the following day to an airport that's three hours from their home.

Sheesh.

As a result of this debacle, American Airlines has issued the following statement:

We are aware of this issue and apologize to the passenger. Our customer service is reaching out to the passenger directly. We are looking into the issue with PSA Airlines, the regional carrier who operated that flight.

Listen, I get that traveling isn't a walk in the park for anyone this time of year ... but does that justify what happened to this family?

I have my hands full whenever I travel with my 2- and 1-year-old boys and can't begin to place myself in this mother's shoes -- and having to deal with the potential of her son having a seizure, let alone the nonsense of jumping through hoops for the flight attendant and manager involved which still wasn't good enough.

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Hopefully this is a wake-up call for everyone (airlines and passengers) to be a little more kind and considerate, especially during the holiday season. I'm sure all of us are desperate to get to our loved ones sooner than later (well, not every relative), but should have a more open heart for those traveling with special needs.

What Bryant and his family experienced shouldn't have been an issue.

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