[nagdu] airport adventure

Marion Gwizdala blind411 at verizon.net
Thu Aug 11 01:23:05 UTC 2011

    This would have been a perfect opportunity to make use of the NAGDU 
Information & Advocacy Hotline. There is a selection there concerning the 
Air Carrier Access Act which is the law that governs airlines, as opposed to 
the ADA. Furthermore, I was on duty today and would have loved to have had 
the opportunity to mediate this issue. the NAGDU Information & Advocacy 
Hotline - another number you might want to have programmed in your cell 
phone - is 888-NAGDU411 (888-624-3841) or 813-658-5749. The 813 number saves 
us the toll charges, but either number is fine to use.

Fraternally yours,
Marion Gwizdala

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Sam Hogle" <smhogle at gmail.com>
To: "NAGDU Mailing List, the National Association of Guide Dog Users" 
<nagdu at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 8:53 PM
Subject: [nagdu] airport adventure

> Hello all. I thought this would be interesting since we've been on this 
> topic lately. Mason and I spent the last week in NC, and had an 
> interesting experiense today that I haven't had before and hope to not 
> have again. Normally, I've noticed that airport staff are generally 
> nervous around Mason. However, the guy working security was the exact 
> opposite. In fact, when the harness set off the alarm, he wanted me to 
> remove it along with the leash and collar. I thought this was odd, but 
> since the guy was cooperating with me in helping me keep control of him, 
> something that was not an issue since he was behaving, and it sped up the 
> process, I wasn't sure what good complaining would do. Also, I'd never 
> heard of this happening before. So, that resolved itself and we continued 
> on our way. At that point, I was thinking that things would go smoothly 
> when the gate agent walked over and said that I "Had to sit in the bulk 
> head." I patiently informed her that I did not have to do this, to which 
> she responded that it was their policy. I followed up with the fact that 
> the ADA keeps this from happening, to which she replied, "It doesn't say 
> anything like that in the MDA." You got it people, she couldn't even get 
> the name right. Anyway, she went to talk to her supervisor, and came back 
> with the same answer. I told her that he physically wouldn't fit there 
> since they couldn't block off the seat next to me and there was nothing 
> for him to go under. She responded with, "not a problem. We can put you in 
> the aisle." I then said that he would be in danger of getting run over by 
> the drink carts or stepped on by other pasengers, and that this still 
> wouldn't solve the fact that he would be in the leg room of the person 
> next to me. At this point, a man sitting a few feet away said he didn't 
> mind sitting there, which made me realize that we were having this 
> discussion in earshot of everyone, something I thought was extremely 
> unprofessional on her part. Anyway, after that man said that, she said 
> that they would also let me know when the cart was coming, and that Mason 
> would be in no danger. I told her that this was still unsafe, and that I 
> couldn't ride there, to which she responded, "You have too or you won't go 
> on this flight." At this point I was at a loss. Since she was being 
> unreasonable and didn't even want to listen to what I had to say, 
> reasoning with her was out. I also knew that I couldn't talk with her 
> supervisor since I heard them talking at the counter, and knew they were 
> on the same side. I'd thought about leaving and trying to rebook my flight 
> since I had no obligations at home, but had no way to get the hour long 
> distanse from the airport to my aunt's since she was at work at that point 
> and couldn't leave. So, I had decided that I would wait untill we were 
> boarding and talk with the flight attendent. I figured they would see that 
> Mason wouldn't fit, and we could easily straighten this out. However, I 
> guess karma decided to step in first. It turns out that the plane we were 
> supposed to ride on had maintinanse issues, and the flight was canseled. 
> There were some vacant seats on a flight leaving an hour and a half later, 
> and one of those seats was given to me. Luckily, that gate agent was more 
> than accomidating and the original agent saw the whole transaction. So, I 
> guess that showed her what she could do with her "policies." lol Anyway, 
> Mason and I made it home safely, and I'm definitely considering writting 
> to Delta about this one. I don't mind educating people about rules and 
> regulations, but I won't have people completely brush me off and treat me 
> or my dog like second class citizens.
> Sam and Seeing Eye Dog Mason
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