Can someone be kicked out of a flight to accommodate a service animal?
A story recently shared on Reddit claimed United Airlines allegedly took a passenger off a flight from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in order to accommodate another passenger’s service dog.
According to the claims, the passenger booked a front row economy seat on the flight, and was surprised to find a dog sitting in his delegated seat number.
A handicapped passenger was with the dog, and allegedly said that “the dog could not move.”
A flight attendant told the passenger that because the other traveler was handicapped and also seated in the front row of the economy cabin she was able to use both seats.
The man alleged that he was told there was no more room for him on the aircraft and would have to deplane.
The passenger claimed that he offered to pay for a vacant first class seat but was refused.
He was then booked on a later flight and given a “better seat”, meal vouchers and bonus United MileagePlus miles.
So what really happened?
A United Airlines spokesperson told AeroTime that occasionally a larger service animal will obstruct access to the aircraft aisle.
In those instances, the airline will “reseat customers to better ensure a safe and comfortable environment for everyone on board”.
“That’s what happened in this case. One customer declined the offer for a different seat and instead asked that we rebook him on a different flight. We rebooked the customer in an exit row seat on a flight later that afternoon and provided meal vouchers and offered MileagePlus miles to thank him for his flexibility,” the spokesperson said.