Controversy continues to dog US Airways as passenger, dog are thrown out

Published on : Friday, November 15, 2013

US-AirwaysFellow passengers on a U.S. Airways flight stood up in defense of a blind man who they believed was wrongly thrown out of the plane.

The stand-off came after Albert Rizzi’s guide dog Doxy went ‘out of control’ according to the crew on the flight from Philadelphia to MacArthur Airport on Long Island.

Travellers claimed that Mr Rizzi was mistreated by a flight attendant on the Wednesday evening flight. Passengers refused to travel after the crew told Mr Rizzi to get off the plane and were taken to Long Island by bus instead.

The flight attendant would not allow the plane to take off because the guide dog was not fully under the plane’s seat. The animal had become restless because the plane had been waiting on the tarmac for 90 minutes.

Mr Rizzi told ABC: ‘The lady comes back and gets very insistent, and I said, ”Look, I don’t understand what you want me to do. I said, ”He’s as best as he can, he’s where he needs to be.” And I hear nobody else moving, and as I’m walking to the front, I’m like wait a second, why am I the only one getting off?’

U.S. Airways claimed that Mr Rizzie was verbally abusive but that an investigation into the incident would take place.

An airline spokesman told MailOnline today: U.S. Airways transports more than 80 million customers each year and ensures that all customers, including those with disabilities, are treated with dignity and respect. In this instance, Mr. Rizzi became disruptive and refused to comply with crew member instructions when the flight attendant asked him to secure his service dog at his feet. As a result of his disruptive behavior, the crew returned to the gate and removed Mr Rizzi and his service dog from the flight. The flight eventually cancelled and we transported Mr Rizzi, his service dog, and the rest of our passengers on the flight to ISP by bus.’

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