Blind woman and service dog kicked off American Airlines flight

FRANKLIN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — After requesting a different seat, Sue Martin, who is blind, and her service dog were kicked off of an American Airlines flight.

She said the pilot claimed she was a "danger to the flight."

A resident of Franklin, Martin has had her seeing eye dog, Quan for the past year. She depends on him to navigate through her daily life.

Martin had never run into an incident like this before her most recent trip to San Diego. There were several connecting flights, all of which went smoothly until her connector flight from Washington, D.C., to Dallas. She requested a different seat on the aircraft after she realized the initial one would not accommodate her service dog.

"There was not enough room for a 75-pound dog and three adult humans," Martin said.

The two were asked to step off of the plane after several requests were made to change seats.

"The man said, 'You have to leave the plane.' I asked him why and he said the crew had decided I was a danger to the flight," Martin said. "I've never had anything happen like this before."

Martin claims there was no altercation between her and the flight attendants and that she couldn't understand why it escalated the way it did.

She was traveling with her husband as well — they had to re-book their flight with a completely different airline at a different airport.

"I stood up, reached for Quan's harness and almost began to cry. This is just so far out of the realm of anything I have ever experienced in all my years of travel," Martin said. "I felt helpless, I felt afraid, I was terrified.

Martin filed three separate complaints with the airline, who says it will be investigating the matter. NEWS CENTER reached out to the airline as well. A spokesperson said, "We take all disability complaints very seriously, and are thoroughly investigating these allegations."

Martin stated that she is worried about traveling with the airline in the future, especially if she is alone.

"Some reassurance that American will better train its personnel is the only way I will feel comfortable getting on another American Airlines flight," Martin said. "I mean, if they can kick a blind person off a plane whose dog is perfectly behaved, what can they do next? I don't know."

Copyright 2017 WLBZ


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