Feature Writer Ann Chiapetta – Passengers Protest In Support of Dog Guide Team

People with disabilities are often challenged whenever engaging with the general public. Take Albert Rizzi. He was returning from a business trip, catching a connecting flight from Philadelphia to his hometown near Islip, New York. Albert is blind and travels with his dog guide, Doxy. They boarded the U.S. Airways 35 seat turbo jet and like the other passengers, strapped in and waited to take off.

Based on what Albert and the news media have described, the flight attendant did not act upon the simple task of reassigning Albert and his dog to a more appropriate seat, to ensure both their safety and comfort. By not doing this, the flight attendant made a serious mistake and it resulted in an argument culminating in Albert being unfairly treated and escorted off the plane. Due to the apparent ignorance and negative attitude of the flight attendant, not only was Albert supported by his fellow passengers but the same passengers all left the plane in an act of solidarity.

What I find the most intriguing about this situation is that folks protested the unfair treatment of Albert in an act of boycotting, by walking off the plane. If you may recall, the definition of boycotting is a group’s refusal to have commercial dealings with some organization in protest of its policies. Based on what I’ve read and from what Albert has described and the statements of the other passengers, I believe this indeed happened. U.S. Airways has a lot to answer for and I hope Albert receives an apology and compensation for the way he was treated. I also hope this incident acts as the fulcrum to fuel better training for the airline industry. In the meantime, I will not do business with this airline in support of Albert and the other passengers.

To read more try the following links:
1010WINS radio link:
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/11/14/blind-l-i-man-says-he-was-kicked-off-plane-over-guide-dog/
For a video blog on Yahoo Trending:
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/trending-now/airline-passengers-raise-objections-when-blind-man–service-dog-are-kicked-off-flight-172524277.html?vp=1
And, the article on CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/14/travel/blind-man-us-airways-incident/

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