American Airlines Sued for Barring Veteran and Service Dog from Flight | Law Firm Newswire

American Airlines Sued for Barring Veteran and Service Dog from Flight

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) December 6, 2016 - An Army veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sued American Airlines after she was humiliated multiple times and prevented from boarding a flight with her service dog.

Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Lisa McCombs was trying to fly home to Gulfport, Mississippi, from Kansas on October 25, 2015. According to the complaint, airline agents refused to let McCombs pass through security with Jake, her certified service dog, despite having valid documentation. The Labrador retriever was also harnessed and wearing his service vest as per airline requirements.

“It is disappointing that a veteran endured such behavior from American Airlines even though she seemed to have complied with their ID and documentation rules for service dogs,” said Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “Instead of understanding her situation and helping her, the airline personnel ended up exacerbating her PTSD.”

The lawsuit claimed airline staff demanded McCombs explain her disability and how her service dog helped. One American Airlines agent allegedly gestured to Jake and said, “Umm, are you trying to fly with that?” in a condescending manner.

McCombs relies on her dog to cope with anxiety from PTSD. According to the lawsuit filed in Mississippi on October 24, she told the airline staff, “I have PTSD, look at me, I’m an anxious mess! … I don’t understand why I’m being treated like this!”

The former captain also described receiving conflicting information from American Airlines representatives over the phone. One asked her to fax Jake’s paperwork and await approval for two days, while the other said she must pay $125 for his flight home in the cargo hold.

After her original flight was cancelled, McCombs returned to the airport the next day. Once again American Airlines did not permit her to fly. The Mississippi resident was eventually able to board a third flight with Jake the following day, the lawsuit said.

However, she experienced further humiliation during her connection at the Dallas/Forth Worth Airport. A group of American Airlines staff called out for a “disabled veteran” upon her arrival. They insisted on escorting McCombs and Jake to their next flight in a wheelchair despite her repeated protests.

An American Airlines official reached out to McCombs after she returned home to say how embarrassed the company was. He offered her first-class international tickets and reimbursement for her flight. The veteran is seeking compensation for her airline tickets, attorney fees, emotional distress and medical expenses for PTSD treatment.

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

  • Surveillance of Social Media Postings
    Social media is like a personal diary, holding the privacies of daily life that people may believe is private information. In reality, this personal information is readily available for public consumption. Employers engage in this surveillance practice all the time, so it is only logical that the VA, Social Security Administration, or other entities would […]
  • Virtual VA Examinations Become the New Norm During the Pandemic
    Kendall Van Ameyde, Esq. Just a month ago, veterans were being forced to attend Compensation and Pension (C&P) examinations, placing themselves and their families at risk during a global pandemic. The C&P examination is often conducted after the veteran files for disability and compensation or pension benefits with the VA. The C&P examination helps the […]
  • VA Expands Access to Veterans’ Healthcare Data on Mobile Devices
    The VA continues its effort to expand its electronic presence during this coronavirus pandemic while not only increasing telehealth services that remotely connect veterans to their healthcare providers from the safety of their own home, but by making it easier for veterans to take control of their health care in the palm of their hands. […]
  • Protecting Yourself From Coronavirus Scams
    In such uncertain times, everyone has a lot to worry about. The COVID-19 pandemic has created new and rapidly evolving health guidelines, social rules, daily routines and, unfortunately, opportunities for scammers to steal in new ways. Because vigilance is the best defense against scams, beware of coronavirus scams and learn how to protect yourself and […]

Tags: , , , , ,



Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required