Now that the Federal Aviation Administration and the airlines have acknowledged that playing a little music on your phone (with headphones, of course) won’t result in a smoldering hole in the ground, we can turn our attention to countless other draconian rules the flying public endures. Like this one: Dogs must be stowed under the seat in front of you.
A story today out of Philadelphia recounts how Albert Rizzi was kicked off a flight because his service dog wouldn’t stay under the seat near him after they sat on the ground for an hour waiting to take off.
Instead, WPVI In Philadelphia reports, the dog settled down under Albert’s legs, about 10 inches from the mandated spot. The flight attendant kept insisting the dog has to be under the seat and after a bit, Rizzi reportedly became vocal about the situation.
According to Newsday, however, there wasn’t a place to “stow” the dog because he was in the last row.
“The flight attendant comes over,” he said. “She’s very curt with me and says, ‘I told you that dog needs to be stowed under the seat.’ ”
Rizzi said he took offense to the phrase “stowed,” but said he tried to remain calm — and explain the dog had no proper place to stay, since his seat had no under-seat area. “I said, ‘We’re not going to get to the point where you tell me I’m being argumentative, so you can throw me off the plane.’ ”
He said, despite his plea, that was what happened.
When the man was told he was being kicked off, other passengers let their common sense get the best of them.
“When we, the passengers, realized what was going on, we were, like, ‘Why is this happening? He’s not a problem. What is going on?'” Passenger Frank Ohlhorst told WPVI. “And we all kind of raised our voices and said, ‘This is a real problem.’ The captain came out of the cockpit and he basically asked us all to leave the aircraft.”
The passengers took a bus home to Long Island.
“These people, all of them, got on a bus and drove three and a half hours from Philadelphia,” Rizzi said. “They could have stayed on the plane, but they chose not to. I’m so humbled.”
Rizzi also is the founder of My Blind Spot, a not-for-profit whose mission is to “build respect and empathy for, and reduce bias towards, individuals with vision impairments.”
The flight wasn’t actually a US Airways flight. It was a “hidden airline,” one of the regional carriers painted to look like the larger airline and suggest to passengers that it is.