So Guide Dogs for the Blind set it up so that we would get a call from American Airlines’ Special Assistance team before our trip to Oregon and before our trip from. Well, when I got that Special Assistance call, they weren’t of ANY assistance. They called to let me know that I would have to pay for an additional seat since I was bringing my guide dog onboard. Excuse me, what?! You’re calling me, telling me something that is against the law regarding my guide dog? And you’re presenting me with discrimination before I have even GRADUATED with my guide dog and even while I’m still at the guide dog school itself? Oooh lady, you messed with the wrong woman.
I was very nice and told her that she couldn’t do that and it was against the law. I told her that my dog could fit under the seat in a regular seat or in the bulkhead if we were seated there given that particular airplane had enough room. She then asked me my dog’s size and weight as if she was going to use it against me so I didn’t give it to her. When she insisted that in order for Makiko and I to fly I would have to buy an extra ticket, I asked her to confirm this because I didn’t think it was true. (I was being nice.) Then she put me on hold so I went to a classmate’s room. When the lady came back and my friend heard the conversation (it was on speakerphone) she told me to go to the Resident Advisor who was on call. I continued to have that conversation and the Resident Advisor whispered to me “Maybe she isn’t aware that a guide dog is a service dog,” and the person on the phone heard this and goes “Uh, I ammmm aware of that,” in a very rude tone. So at that point I said I would call back later. The agent replied, “Oh well I just booked you another seat.” I replied, “Great, thanks!!” Then I said, “Great, thanks. What type of airplane is it and can you tell me the seat so I can look it up?” She goes, “Well, I just changed it back when you said you were gonna call back.” Ugh! Okay so I go back to the room and call back and they transfer me to the Resolutions team. The Resolutions team tells me that there is nobody at Special Assistance today. I replied, “Well the lady I spoke with earlier put me on hold for about 20 minutes while she spoke with Special Assistance, so how could this be?” He replied, “Well we only have EMERGENCY Special Assistance today.” So anyway I asked him to have them call me tomorrow and have a supervisor call me. Nobody ever did. My class supervisor called them a few days later and gave them a bit of a mouthful and they told him where I was sitting and that it would be just fine.
The rest of the story, my actual flight, is on the Graduation blog post. 🙂