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Is this an actual FAA rule?

Amelia26
New Arrival

I recently flew from San Jose to Burbank. A flight attendant named Amy insisted that my service dog be right in front of my feet at all times and could not be touched by another passenger. During boarding, my dog was sitting right next to me at my feet, quiet and well-behaved, being petted by another passenger (who had asked permission).

In six years flying with my service dog, I’ve never heard this rule before. Has anyone else? I asked where the regulation was written but she refused to tell me. I know he has to be on the floor or on my lap and not blocking the path of other passengers. I was really surprised that Amy said this was an FAA regulation because if my dog was right in front of my feet, he would be blocking the way for the other passengers in my row (I was on the aisle).

Have you travelled with a service dog and been told this by a flight attendant? Have you been told any other rules that aren’t in writing online?

 

I contacted customer service but so far have gotten no response. They have also not offered any kind of compensation to make up for this negative experience. Has anyone else with a disability or service animal been singled out, or had a negative experiences related to your disability on Southwest? I’d love to hear other customers’ comments.

4 REPLIES 4

Re: Is this an actual FAA rule?

dfwskier
Top Contributor

US DOT said:

 

"Airlines can require that a
service animal fit on the
passenger’s lap and/or in
the passenger’s footpace
without encroaching onto
another passenger’s space.
(14 CFR 382.77(a)) 

 

If a passenger travels with
two service animals, both
must fit on the passenger’s
lap and/or in the
passenger’s foot space on
the floor."

 

https://www.faa.gov/sites/faa.gov/files/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/acr/Day1_Session3-ACAA...

 

Service animals may  not impact other passengers' safety (ability to exit the plane in an emergency). The assumption is that an animal anywhere other than in your lap or directly in front of your feet may do that.

Re: Is this an actual FAA rule?

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

I would suggest you encountered a member of the flight crew who misunderstood the service animal policy and how it differs from animals traveling as pets.

 

Southwest policy for pets says:

Cats and dogs must remain in the carrier (including head and tail) and the carrier must be stowed under the seat in front of the Customer (owner) for the entire duration of the flight.

 

Policy for trained service animals is:

If using a carrier, it must be stowed under the seat in front of you for taxi, takeoff, and landing.  An animal no larger than a child under the age of two may sit on your lap, otherwise it must be positioned on the plane floor.

 

Specifically where on the plane floor is not identified in the policy.  Just like some flight crews are more picky about where I place my water bottle or small bag containing cords and headphones you will occasionally encounter someone with a slight difference in opinion about where things should go.  I hardly see this as a traumatic event, you can choose to roll with it or dwell on it.

 

Compensation???  Seriously?

 

--TheMiddleSeat

 

Re: Is this an actual FAA rule?

Amelia26
New Arrival

Your comments are really hurtful, and aren’t in line with the community courtesy policy. I am wondering if I’m not the only one here who has been hurt by your comments. 

 

You aren’t in a position to decide what is traumatic for another person. 

SW airlines is responsible for training employees on policy. If a customer is not treated the same as other people and their experience is affected, I do think compensation is warranted.

 

People such as myself with legitimate  questions should definitely be welcomed to this forum. It isn’t up to you to decide that I can’t be here, but thank you for your concern.

 

 

Re: Is this an actual FAA rule?

dfwskier
Top Contributor

@Amelia26 wrote:

Your comments are really hurtful, and aren’t in line with the community courtesy policy. I am wondering if I’m not the only one here who has been hurt by your comments. 

 

You aren’t in a position to decide what is traumatic for another person. 

  themiddleseat s  did say he did not think the incident rose to the level that would require compensation. I happen to agree with him

 

SW airlines is responsible for training employees on policy. If a customer is not treated the same as other people and their experience is affected, I do think compensation is warranted.

 

Training is not perfect. People sleep in class. People forget their training. People misunderstand things. Sometimes people even make the decision to not do what their training said they should. If you expect absolute perfection in every interaction you have, you are likely disappointed a lot. 

 

People such as myself with legitimate  questions should definitely be welcomed to this forum. It isn’t up to you to decide that I can’t be here, but thank you for your concern.

 

Themiddleseat NEVER said    that you should not be here. He did say that he disagrees with your assessment. He is as entitled to do that here as you are to make your assessment