Guess which airline denied a Marine vet with PTSD and his 'Service Dog of the Year'
(Un)American Airlines is busy cleaning up a public-relations nightmare after embarrassing a retired Marine Corps veteran and his award-winning service dog.
Jason Haag, 35, was flying home to Fredericksburg, Virginia, from Los Angeles International Airport last Sunday with his wife and service dog when they were denied entry onto the plane at the last minute.
The family traveled to California for the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards on Saturday night. His dog, Axel, was honored as the 2015 Service Dog of the Year.
“[The agent] called me up to the ticket counter and the first thing out of his mouth was, ‘Is that a real service dog?’” Haag told the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday. “He’s like, ‘Well, what’s your disability?’ and I was like, ‘Excuse me?’ because that’s not a question you’re allowed to ask under the rules and regulations. Then he started firing off questions in rapid succession.”
Axel is able to ease Haag’s anxiety attacks and help pull him out of flashbacks, ABC News reported Tuesday. The veteran, who travels around the country explaining what service dogs do for wounded veterans, also deals with complications from traumatic brain injury suffered while on active duty.
“The next thing they ask me is, ‘What does the dog do for you?’ I tell him the dog does a bunch of stuff for me. He didn’t really like that answer,” Haag told ABC. “I tried to start telling him the tasks; he starts to tell me that I’m non-compliant and my dog can’t fly because I can’t produce any paperwork.”
The former captain’s ordeal had an added level of frustration because he had flown out of Reagan National Airport three days earlier on the same airline without any problems.
Despite having proper documentation to fly with Axel (i.e., identification, a harness and verbal confirmation), the veteran was told he may have created fraudulent documents.