Decorated Army Veteran with PTSD Sues Airline for Banning Service Dog

A soldier with a Therapy Labrador Retriever. (Photo: Public Domain)

A soldier with a Therapy Labrador Retriever. (Photo: Public Domain)

October 31, 2016

By Lorra B.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder strikes many veterans and Lisa McCombs is no exception. After serving honorably for four years in both Iraq and Afghanistan, it is her service dog, Jake, that she relies on to help her combat the panic and stress associated with PTSD.

Her Labrador retriever has accompanied McCombs without incident whenever she has flown but all of that “changed one year ago, when she was barred from boarding a regional American Airlines flight with Jake, who was wearing his service vest and was properly documented at the time,” reportsThe Washington Post.

Army vet Lisa Mccombs, of Gulfort, Miss., and her service dog Jake. (Screenshot credit, WLOX-TV)

Army vet Lisa Mccombs, of Gulfort, Miss., and her service dog Jake.
(Screenshot credit, WLOX-TV)

According to her federal lawsuit, McCombs was attempting to fly from Manhattan to Kansas and as she was getting ready to board the plane an airline agent came up and asked “in a condescending tone, ‘ummm, are you going to fly with that?’”

Not only was McCombs reportedly humiliated she also spent the next 48 hours in limbo being interrogated and unable to return home. She was, according to the report, stressed out, ‘verbally assaulted by two agents’ to spoke loudly and rudely while insisting she explain in detail her ailments that would require her to have an accompanying service dog.

“I don’t understand why I’m being treated like this!”, McCombs cried. “He is my service dog! I have PTSD, look at me, I’m an anxious mess!”

Because McCombs became frustrated and upset and cursed aloud the Airlines threatened to have her arrested.

This nightmare went on for two days. McCombs was assured that she would be able to catch a flight the next day, with Jake, but when she tried to board the plane the exact same disaster began all over again.

McCombs for forced to book a flight with a different airline and rack up and additional costs exceeding $600.

It is McCombs contention that American Airlines violated the Disabilities Act and she wants to be compensated for the “reckless disregard” of her rights, her airline tickets, medical treatment and legal fees.

PTSD is not to be taken lightly and affects about “11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan and 20 percent of veterans of the war in Iraq,” according to the VA.

According to Service Dogs for America, specially trained service dogs can zero in on symptoms of PTSD and redirect the symptoms of panic, anxiety and nightmares by forcing their owner to focus their attentions on the animal.

American Airlines is not commenting on this issue other than to say, “The process for traveling with a service animal on American is in line with applicable federal regulations,” and that, ‘the company “appreciates and thanks Ms. McCombs for her service to our country.’”

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By Lorra B.

23 thoughts on “Decorated Army Veteran with PTSD Sues Airline for Banning Service Dog

  1. As I have stated in the past. It would appear, that some individuals just don’t seem to care for the military. We who have served are at the ready, should we need to defend such non-humans. But boy! they sure look the other way, when we are the ones in need of assistance. Hope she hits them where it hurts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Is it just me or are service dogs allowed to go anywhere? I thought they were. I know we don’t allow dogs on our facilities here, but we can’t say anything to the person with the dog if they utter the words “service dog”. So, I say SUE ‘EM! Especially if you’re a Veteran!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not just that they wouldn’t allow the dog, they treated her like a POS for the love! People sure can suck. Yes, I think she will come out ahead on this one but the experience will leave its mark. 😡

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear sir, with all due respect and perhaps you,are unaware of this situation.
    American Airlines

    CEO Doug Parker.

    The last thing you need is more government interference in your business model by the FAA

    At the same time advise him you won’t be flying American Airlines until they broadly advertise a change in policy.

    They are “American Airlines,” after all, but then again they may not be.

    American Airlines is the world’s largest airline after a 2012 merger with US Airways.

    4333 Amon Carter Blvd
    Fort Worth, TX 76155
    http://www.aa.com

    Of course, the worker for American Airlines must be terminated with prejudice for using such faulty judgment!
    It took just a second, I emailed the above to his office.

    Sincerely Jim Campbell, If all of your readers will take a minute to copy and paste maybe the wrong can be righted.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Here’s how we bring American to it’s knees. A great solution would be to contact the CEO of American Airlines and ask him to rethink the issue.

    At the same time, the woman must be reimbursed for her time and expenses.
    American Airlines

    CEO Doug Parker.

    At the same time advise him you won’t be flying American Airlines until they broadly advertise a change in policy.

    They are “American Airlines,” after all, but then again they may not be.

    American Airlines is the world’s largest airline after a 2012 merger with US Airways.

    4333 Amon Carter Blvd
    Fort Worth, TX 76155
    http://www.aa.com

    Liked by 1 person

  5. More shameful behavior, and not just because she’s a veteran. This is inexcusable to any American citizen. It’s almost like our country is infected with a “One Up Virus”. You know, one person or group trying to be ‘strong’ on somebody else just because they can. We’ve lost our ability to express humanity. It’s really gotten out of hand. Kindness is a virtue that seems to be missing in so many cases. I know what the cause is (or at least can guess): murdering unborn children, movies showing people seeking revenge for even the most minor of ‘offenses’, brutal video games, etc. It’s a comedy of errors. You know what the solution is. *wink* And it’s not just a new Administration.

    Like

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