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Blind Man Us Airways Incident

November 15, 2013 by  

Blind Man Us Airways Incident, US Airways is investigating an incident in which a blind man and his service dog were removed from one of its planes at Philadelphia International Airport.

It happened Wednesday night on a US Airways Express flight from Philadelphia to Long Island.

Albert Rizzi, who is legally blind, was told his guide dog Doxy had to stay under the seat in front of him during the flight.

“I said to her, ‘I really don’t understand what the issue is. I can’t do anything. She was expecting me to put my dog in other people’s space. They were paying good money for those seats. It was kind of odd,” Rizzi said.

Two other passenger offered to help him and allowed Doxy to curl up under the seat in front of them.

But Rizzi says after passengers waited more than an hour to take off, the dog became restless and curled up under his legs.

Rizzi said the flight attendant then informed him the dog had to be under a seat or the plane would have to turn around.

US Airways says Rizzi became verbally abusive, and that other passengers became argumentative, sparking safety concerns.

Passenger Frank Ohlhorst described what happened.

“When we, the passengers, realized what was going on, we were, like, ‘Why is this happening? He’s not a problem. What is going on?'” said Ohlhorst. “And we all kind of raised our voices and said, ‘This is a real problem.’ The captain came out of the cockpit and he basically asked us all to leave the aircraft.”

The airline says both the dog and the unrest among the passengers created a safety hazard as defined by its operating protocols.

The flight was eventually cancelled.

US Airways offered to transport passengers by bus from Philadelphia to Islip, New York.

Rizzi accepted the offer, along with a number of other passengers. Others decided to schedule another flight.

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