posted on Nov, 15 2013 @ 07:09 PM
U.S. Airways passengers rally around blind man booted off
PHILADELPHIA -- A blind man was kicked off a U.S. Airways flight Wednesday evening after a squabble with a flight attendant over restraining
his guide dog. The airline's action so infuriated the 35 or so other passengers that the flight had to be canceled.
Forty-nine-year-old Albert Rizzi, who told ABCNews.com that he flies every month and can't travel without his guide dog, said this is the second time
in six months that he's had a problem on a U.S. Airways flight.
"The flight attendant wanted me to put my dog under the seat, and I did the best I could. A passenger even sat Indian style to make room for my dog
Doxy," he said.
During the fracas, Rizzi said his fellow passengers "raised a ruckus" to express their displeasure with the way the flight attendant had treated
After he was escorted off the plane, Rizzi said he was very upset and while waiting to retrieve his luggage, he noticed other passengers had joined
him from his plane, in support.
He claims his dog was under his seat as best he could but the stewardess was not satisfied and the both of them got into it. However, other
passengers were upset with the stewardess too and joined in and chaos ensued. Finally the pilot said it was not clear to take off and had the man
removed from the plane. Of course, so did many of the passengers that were witness to what happened and on his side.
The Bellport, N.Y., resident said he felt humbled by the actions of his new friends, who all boarded a bus together, chartered by U.S. Airways, to
take them on a four-hour ride to their final destination, Long Island's MacArthur Airport. Passenger Kurt Budke, drove Rizzi home once they arrived
in Long Island.
Budke said "The training of the dog was amazing. To say this dog couldn't be controlled is false. This dog was more controlled than the people on
board," he said.
That was in response to the stewardess who claimed the dog was 'restless' and could not be controlled.
The dog was under the seat for 1 1/2 hours waiting on the tarmac before they ever took off.
Needless to say, the passengers stories vary with the stewardess' story.
And the Officials at US Airways said Mr. Rizzi was belligerent and the crew’s safety was in jeopardy, but other passengers said that isn’t true.