- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 29, 2016

American Airlines has apologized to an Indiana family after they said they were kicked off a flight on Thanksgiving Day because of their disabled son’s service dog.

Amy Jo Weasel, whose 11-year-old son has Dravet Syndrome, said her family had already boarded their homebound flight with the dog at Charlotte Douglas International Airport when an attendant asked them to move to bulkhead seating, a local Fox News affiliate reported.

The 110-lb. labradoodle service dog named Chug was apparently too big to fit in regular seating, so the family complied, Mrs. Weasel said.

“And at that time she told me the dog could not be sitting, that the dog had to be under the seat,” Mrs. Weasel told a local NBC News affiliate.

She said she tried to comply with the seemingly impossible request, but failed.

“You could tell right away from her demeanor, her attitude, and her body language that she did not like animals,” the mother said. “She said I’ve already contacted management and they’re coming to speak with you, and the management got on the plane and told me that I needed to exit the aircraft.”

The Weasels said they were removed from the plane and forced to spend their Thanksgiving at the airport trying to get booked on another flight. Mrs. Weasel said American Airlines eventually rebooked them on a flight the next day, but to St. Louis — a three-hour drive from their home, NBC reported.

“And the next day — which is the most painful part — I had to return the car all the way back to St. Louis. They didn’t have a one-way rental so I had to take the car all the way back,” Mrs. Weasel told Fox.

The mother was particularly upset because she said she submitted all the required paperwork and called the airline in advance to make sure Chug could fly.

“We flew from Evansville to Charlotte and then from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach on Nov. 2 with absolutely no problems whatsoever,” she said.

American Airlines said it is investigating the incident.

“We are aware of this issue and apologize to the passenger,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “Our customer relations team is reaching out to the passenger directly. We are looking into the issue with PSA Airlines, the regional carrier who operated that flight.”

Mrs. Weasel said American Airlines later apologized for her inconvenience and offered her a $150 voucher on a future trip.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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