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.
> Read More: AA Flight Attendant Viciously Attacked By Emotional Support Dog
Obviously more details will need to be corroborated. One aspect I am sure of, is that if a flight attendant picked up the kennel and accidentally bonked it against a lavatory door, bulkhead, etc. that the dog owner is going to see it as malicious and amplify the magnitude of the action in her own mind, when it was probably just an honest, harmless mistake.
I just think the FA should have been Locked up in the toilet just like she/ he did to the dog , That said i think I just want to avoid taking flights – FAs etc far too much power over customers. Is it necessary to go by flight ?
Stupid lawyer. Bad timing to file the claim. With all the issues against ESA and abusing ESA’s status all over the internet, there’s little chance AA will settle. No threat against damaged public face of AA. The client might be bullied in the social media. This is the internet.
ESA liability insurance will eliminate a lot of the problems.
I think that the easiest way to solve this issue is insurance. If carriers add a requirement of liability insurance to thier contract for carriage ( Some insurance companies already have exclusions on HO liability coverage for high risk dog breeds.
Say a $10 million liability insurance for ESA (exemptions for trained service animals for ADA compliance). Liability insurance would cover attacks as well as property damage – dog voids on floor).
While I’m unaware of any insurer offering it if it became a condition of carriage for ESL – I imagine a company might offer it, I also imagine that other carriers would quickly follow. Air travel is a privilege not a right. I also imagine that it would be expensive – I think it would help solve the issue. Delta just got slapped down for trying to ban Put bulls as ESA, this would by an end run around the Pit bull issue. I’ve had Rotties and Shepherds as pets, they were well trained.
Sounds like she accepted the downgrade and then ‘upgraded’ herself into her original seat.
“the mental anguish of a passenger”
Oh, the humanity.
I actually agree with a liability insurance opinion. It makes sense to have one for everyone’s protection. As home owners we carry a liability insurance in a case someone gets injured on our property. So, I think having an insurance coverage for an ESA is a very good idea.
Can I carry my emotional support elephant on my next flight. it will make me feel better.
What about my emotional support black mamba? Or my emotional support Kodiak brown bear?
My wife keeps asking about an emotional support cigarette.
If you are traveling with your entire family, but STILL need an emotional support animal, you should be deemed too unstable to fly and a security risk to the aircraft, and therefore denied boarding…
I doubt the story has been told completely yet. However, why is it we doubt the accuser instinctively, and with insults? There are always bad actors on both sides. I don’t need to be a frequent flyer to say this, but–of all the service industry, I have experienced more rudeness, contempt, and agression with Flight Attendants than in any other.
Yes, they are there for safety, primarily. Conversely, I have also disproportionately experienced the most incredible, genuine, and caring service from Flight Attendants than in any other service venues.
I suppose it’s that extreme that makes commerical flying a magnet for discussion.
Finally to my point! AA put out a statement. They have experience and entire departments of people who are the professionals when it comes to communications. The fact they were neither extremely vague, nor very detailed in their response, is sloppy and further incites all this conjecture.
A simple acknowledgment of an incident or no comment would have been the right thing to do until AA was ready to explain further. Shame on them just for that alone.
There are always two side to a story, but nothing is surprising anymore. Recall the JetBlue FA who quit by jumping out the emergency exit on the tarmac @ JFK, and found dead only recently in Mexico? Who needs fiction?
They’re vague so as to not get nailed down … And to offer some response instead of letting one side control the narrative
As someone who has what would he called an anxiety disorder as well as post traumatic stress, I do my best to avoid judging how others manage their issues. However the purpose of an ESA is not to serve as the sole resource in an anxious person’s life. Effectively living with anxiety, PTSD, depression, etc., Is learning techniques to help oneself independent of an animal or person. It’s hard work but worth it.
There’s a reason airlines have started to institute higher standards for animals on planes because the whole ESA thing has been abused. I’ve read of people who insisted on bringing their support peacock, squirrel and snake.
My cat master has been in the doldrums ever since an ’emotional support human’ died on a flight and another freaked out after drinking a bunch of alcohol, it made them appear to be bark raving mad. The some passenger posted video on social media.
So a few badly behaving humans ruin it for the rest of us Emotional support humans. It used to be great to fly in first class with my Feline master.
Leave the $#@%$& dog at home, stop composing dogs on others, this was not a medical need dog we all know that, ever think others allergic to dogs, cleaning up after dog, dog barking on flight, a,d no space for dog, she lives in a bubble that is her and the dog, enough of pets on planes except for service animals, stop it