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Southwest Airlines Community

can't believe it

Explorer C

I unfortunately had a similar encounter.  This past Friday I flew with my ESA at ATL airport, which is a 4lbs yorkie that doesn't make a peep as well. I checked in my two bags at the ticket counter, and was never spoken to or asked anything about a letter for my pet.  I also went through TSA with no issues. Now here is where the story gets good.  When I arrived at the gate, my animal was on her leash.  before boarding I put her back inside, and even proceeded to ask the gate agent Ms. Thomas, if passengers with service/ESA where allowed to board early...she then replied "I aint never said that"...Ok so I proceed to sit in the seat closest to the ticket counter with my pet in her carrying bag on my lap. Right in front if Ms. Akesha Thomas.  I boarded the plane sat down, and about 4 min before take off. Two flight attendants approached me, and ask me if I has a dog, I proceeded to say yes, and they then asked me to come to the front to speak to Ms. Akesha Thomas.  When I got to the front of the plane I was basically verbally attacked by Ms. Thomas right in the jet bride in front of the door of the plane where everyone could hear.  She proceeded to ask me in a very loud harsh attitude tone of voice "did you pay for that dog"  I proceeded to tell her that she was and ESA.  She then asked where was my letter,  I let her know that I was unaware of the policy change.  She then told me that I was going to have ot get off of the plane, miss my flight, and come pay for the animal.  Thats when I began to have a panic attack because she pretty much did not explain what was going on, and gave me no time to process what was going on. She humiliated me in front of everyone.  In the middle of having trying to calm myself down, and get my thoughts in order I proceeded to tell her that I would be willing to pay the fee, but I cant miss my flight. (I mean technically it is a miss on SW behalf not mine.) She then got on the jetbridge phone and started talking to someone saying that someone needs to come ans escort me off of the plane, because she has no time for this.  At this point I am pretty much begging her to please let me just pay the fee and get back on the plane.  She then says okay with still talking on the phone with an altitude about everything that was going on.  She gave my card number over the phone but the card didnt work, she then made an announcement to everyone that the card was declined....but i knew I had money, so I asked her to let me just sign into my banking to see whats going on. Even the two flight attendants that were standing by me witnessed my bank account and seen that I had no issues.  She then told me no I gotta go and i was just going to have to miss my flight....Im still in tears at this point. It was so bad, that the captain of the plane came out to see what was going on.  To end my story. One of the flight attendance knew I was having a panic attack, and she also recognized that the gate agent was being rude, so she paid the fee for me, and allowed me to stay on the flight....I am not sure how to end this story, but I just wanted to put it out there because it was alot. 


Re: can't believe it

Aviator A

When traveling with an emotional support animal, you need to declare the animal at check-in so that you can provide the proper documentation. This isn't a new policy, it is always been this way. In the future, you could avoid unfortunate situations such as this by doing so.


if the animal you are traveling with is not an emotional support animal, you need to declare the animal as a pet at check in, and pay the pet fee.