A woman has sued American Airlines, claiming that she was kicked out of business class and her emotional support dog was locked in the lavatory by a crazed flight attendant.
Avigail Diveroli was traveling from Miami to Los Angeles on a 777 in business class. Her lawsuit claims that after boarding, a flight attendant named Regina “screamed” at her that the dog was not allowed in business class, citing Federal Aviation Administration rules. Regina then proceeded to grab the kennel and slam it against the lavatory door as she tried to squeeze it in. The dog was reportedly locked up for the final hour of the flight. Regina also told Diveroli she would be arrested and “cuffed” in Los Angeles. Police did meet the flight, but no arrests were made.
The lawsuit states that Diveroli contacted American Airlines on two occasions to confirm she could travel with “medically necessary comfort animal” and was assured yes in both cases, including the night before the flight. Now she is seeking upwards of $75,000 in damages.
Something doesn’t add up here.
Responding to the lawsuit, American Airlines stated:
Our professional crews are there to ensure the safety and comfort of all customers. In this case, the customer’s dog was traveling as a pet rather than an emotional support animal or service animal. FAA regulations require pets to stay in kennels that fit under the seat, however, this kennel didn’t fit under the seat. The flight crew tried to handle the situation in accordance with FAA regulations.
Also, this travel was booked on a 777, which doesn’t allow pets in the premium cabin. Our team at the airport in Miami offered to rebook the passenger on a later flight, but they declined, and opted to take a seat with the pet in the main cabin.
That leaves several unresolved questions, doesn’t it?
- If the AA team in Miami offered to rebook Diveroli on a later flight, how did she apparently keep her business class seats on the original flight and bring the dog onboard?
- If, as AA states, the passenger did accept the downgrade, why does the lawsuit allege an onboard downgrade?
- Was this an emotional support animal or not? Did she pay the pet fee?
While I tend to think there was a verbal altercation onboard, it seems far-fetched a flight attendant would take a dog kennel and slam it against the lavatory door.
The lawsuit alleges:
This is a terrible case where AA completely ignored the mental anguish of a passenger, ignored their own carrier agreement with passengers, and violated every standard of decency.
Perhaps. But AA and Diveroli are telling a very different story and AA is refusing to clarify the discrepancies. Mark this story as developing. I’m not making any judgments yet.