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Let the bunny fly

New Arrival

I have a trained bunny that looks like cotton candy. She sits me down when a seizure is coming on. I was on the plane in my seat when this over zellis worker that watched & followed me all overoover the airport from the bathroom to the restaurant that I stopped at he was there. When I got on the plane Brian .N from Columbus Ohio climbed over three rows of seats to ask what did I have in my bag. Mind you my rabbit is 100% trained she sits in a book bag comfortably and will not move. I was removed off the plane after everyone on the plane said they had no problem with me flying with the bunny. This bunny saves my life and they refuse to allow me to have her on the plane even though she has all of her papers. I fly too often with her to be denied to bring her. I am now being charged for bringing a bunny through TSA for Southwest please if you read this tell Southwest it's not fair that they allow a pony to fly a miniature horse but not a rabbit that does not make any sense.#let the bunny fly. I will be going to the news with this and social media I have papers on my bunny and I'm appalled that even though they saw how she works and reacts to my seizures and has saved my life in front of them they still refuse to allow me on the plane with my bunny I had to sit at the airport for 2 days and then they threaten to throw me out even though I still had a ticket. Help me if you can bring attention 2 people in their needs. If I would have died on they're plane or been seriously injured it would have been all of Southwest fault. And Brian .N . Brian .N needs to be fired.

 

6 REPLIES 6
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Re: Let the bunny fly

Top Contributor

Sorry to hear of your significant problems

 

  SInce this is a customer to customer forum, perhaps you would be better off directly complaining to the airline. Here's how:

 

https://community.southwest.com/t5/Knowledge-Base/Submitting-a-Suggestion-and-or-Complaint/ta-p/8724...

 

The company changed it's ESA policy early this year to only allow cats and dogs as emotional support animals. People were bringing all sorts of different animals and claiming they were ESAs. Then a passenger tried to bring a peacock on a plane as an ESA. The policy changed shortly after that incident.

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Re: Let the bunny fly

Active Member

FAA service animal info 

 

As you have probably researched on this community forum, animals on flights have at least two camps of thought.  One - service animals are perfectly fine on planes, and two - pet owners have come up with lots of ways around the rules to be able to fly their animal free.  Some truths in both lines of thinking, which is very unfortunate for people who need service animals.  The issue rose to the top of the FAA and airline priorities when a large dog attacked a passenger (on another airline).  The lack of an agency to certify service animals is a challenge for airline employees because many of the agencies offering documents have official sounding names but are just vendors looking to make a buck selling paper that is not acceptable documentation.  

 

Hopefully you provided Southwest the info ahead of time (which would help your position if lodging a complaint).  I have found that a well-written letter to Southwest Customer Service often gets results (as with other airlines); mostly because it can take out the emotional response which causes people to get defensive.  

 

Even though I am a person with allergies who generally wants pets out of the cabin, I am not a zealot, and I understand the need for service animals for many.  I am sorry that this happened, and I hope giving some background helps you with understanding the issue and explaining it.  I hope things works out for you, at least for a refund. 

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Re: Let the bunny fly

Active Member

I think you got a great reply about contacting SW ahead of time with documentation and would have had all your ducks in a row.  I know you stated you've done this previously, but in this case, you found the sticking point.  The issue isn't with the flight attendant, it's will all those people mentioned that have found ways around the service animal issue.   I myself have so many questions on this as well.  Do you bring your bunny in a BAG?  Nothing more comfortable than that?  And you say you showed "SW people" how the bunny works, so you actually self-induced a seizure?  I'm not saying that you do or don't have legitimate medical concerns, but in just reading your post I have red flags.  I hope your issue is resolved in a way that pleases you and that on every flight in the future you are proactive in reaching out to the airlines you fly on in regard to their policies and what you plan to do.  Me personally, those people that bring their animals on flights and keep them their carriers, I'm all good.  Those that get them out and let get all over seats or on the floor or whatever, (if they came in a carrier) drive me nuts.  I've seen larger dogs that do sit on the floor and never move.  You have been given some good options here, I hope you explore them and find your resolution.  

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Re: Let the bunny fly

Top Contributor

@Letthebunnyfly wrote:

I have a trained bunny that looks like cotton candy. She sits me down when a seizure is coming on. I was on the plane in my seat when this over zellis worker that watched & followed me all overoover the airport from the bathroom to the restaurant that I stopped at he was there. When I got on the plane Brian .N from Columbus Ohio climbed over three rows of seats to ask what did I have in my bag. Mind you my rabbit is 100% trained she sits in a book bag comfortably and will not move. I was removed off the plane after everyone on the plane said they had no problem with me flying with the bunny. This bunny saves my life and they refuse to allow me to have her on the plane even though she has all of her papers. I fly too often with her to be denied to bring her. I am now being charged for bringing a bunny through TSA for Southwest please if you read this tell Southwest it's not fair that they allow a pony to fly a miniature horse but not a rabbit that does not make any sense.#let the bunny fly. I will be going to the news with this and social media I have papers on my bunny and I'm appalled that even though they saw how she works and reacts to my seizures and has saved my life in front of them they still refuse to allow me on the plane with my bunny I had to sit at the airport for 2 days and then they threaten to throw me out even though I still had a ticket. Help me if you can bring attention 2 people in their needs. If I would have died on they're plane or been seriously injured it would have been all of Southwest fault. And Brian .N . Brian .N needs to be fired.

 


 

Unfortunately, the FAA allows airlines to have policies restricting the species of animals allowed on board as a Trained Service Animal (not to be confused with an Emotional Support Animal, which has it's own, more stringent set of requirements).

 

Southwest specifically allows "dogs, cats, or miniature horses" on board when a disabled customer is able to provide credible verbal assurance that his/her animal is a trained service animal. Documentation is not required, per the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).

 

However, Southwest's Trained Service Animal policy states that they do not accept "unusual or exotic species of animals." This catch-all essentially allows them to block any individual animal other than a dog, cat or miniature horse at their discretion.

 

Unfortunately, as you've discovered, this includes rabbits.

 

Southwest does require that you check in at the ticket counter or with the gate agent so that they can verify that the animal is trained to perform a task(s) or work related to your disability. Hopefully you did that prior to boarding. (Not doing so could possibly be the trigger for the employee behavior you encountered.)

 

If you believe your rights under the ACAA have been violated, reach out to Southwest and ask specifically to speak with a Complaints Resolution Official (CRO). A CRO is the airline’s expert on disability accommodation issues. Airlines are required to make one available to you, at no cost, in person at the airport or by telephone during the times they are operating.

 

Contact Customer Relations 

 

If they are unable to help, consider filing a DOT Consumer Complaint.

 

 

 

 

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Re: Let the bunny fly

Active Member

While I agree your rabbit was likely no problem, people have exploited airlines with their peacocks and so.........

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Re: Let the bunny fly

Active Member

People have exploited airlines with peacocks and other animals as emotional support animals. My wife had an "emotional support animal" when she was in grad school. That cat got her through her PhD. The poor creature flew cross country more than it should have. Once he went deaf though, he seemed to stop minding. We always paid a fee to fly him. He was, as I said, what you would call an emotional support animal today, but he was just her "grad school buddy".  I guess things had a different perspective back then.

 

Something is wrong if I can just claim my untrained miniature horse is a ESA and have it fly, but someone with a trained, certified rabbit that can detect epileptic seizures is rejected. Something is very, very wrong.