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Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:45 pm
by Venatt
This happened to a friend:

Please help me make this viral!!

As you all know, my daughters and I traveled to Mexico last Thursday (February 7th), and my oldest daughter Sam was ready to travel with her emotional support dog, Pancho (a small Chihuahua) as she suffers from anxiety and fear of flying.

The first part of our journey was to fly from Belfast to London and it was decided that we would use British Airways for that purpose. Everything was checked with the airline with one month of anticipation to make sure that the dog would be able to travel with Sam in the cabin. We sent all the documentation they asked from us: letters from the vet, letters from the psychologist, etc. and it wasn't UNTIL British Airways had given us the green light and assured us that my daughter would have the dog with her during the flight that the tickets were finally booked.

However, when we got to the airport the woman at the check-in counter told us that it wouldn’t be possible as BA didn’t accept emotional support dogs in the cabin, only guide dogs and therefore we would need to hire a pet agency to fly Pancho to London. She went into an office at the back of the counter and printed the information from the website, and yes, fair enough, the website mentioned what she had just explained to us. But then why was this information not given to us when calling the airline to see about the bookings? Why would they even ask for all the letters from the vet and the psychologist if they already knew about this? Why play with us by assuring that everything would be okay and that my daughter would have no problems flying with her dog?? Was British Airlines only trying to sell tickets???

I cannot emphasize enough the horrible experience we went through in that moment. Two hours before the flight we find out that my daughter wouldn’t be able to fly with her dog and that we needed to hire a pet agency if we wanted to take him with us??? Are you kidding me???

The treatment we received from the woman at the check in counter was totally cold, intolerant and inhuman. She showed absolutely no signs of empathy, willingness to help or even patience with us for what was happening. I had to call the Home Office Department in the UK to tell them that we were stuck and having problems as they had helped us book the flights. Two wonderful people from the Home Office tried speaking to her in two different occasions, tried explaining the situation and how THEY had checked everything before booking the tickets… The woman wouldn’t budge…. And remember, we are talking about a Chihuahua here, it’s a small dog!!

A very hard decision had to be made: I either decided to pull back and lose all our connections to get back home or fly without the dog. HARDEST DECISION I HAVE EVER HAD TO MAKE.

To see your daughter break down right before your eyes, crying in pain and hugging her dog for what was about to happen is not something a mother wants to go through… The dog had to be taken from her arms and I was panicking inside for what she would have to experience during the flights.

Sam had a really tough time throughout the journey home, her anxiety went up the roof during the three flights we had to take, and I had to keep calming her down and soothing her all the while feeling so angry, frustrated, and disgusted that I hadn’t been able to protect my daughter from this. NO CHILD SHOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH AN EXPERIENCE LIKE THIS just for the ignorance of an airline and especially of one person that couldn’t find the way to help us when the mistake had been done on their part.

Pancho was left back in Belfast. My daughter needs him. We NEED to find a way to bring him home. Sam has suffered enough! Please help me by making this viral. What British Airways did was inhuman, wrong in so many different ways and caused unnecessary pain, anxiety and distress to a child that needed support.
@britishairways #emotionalsupportdogs #helpbringPanchohome #kidswithanxiety #mexicansabroad
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Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:50 pm
by masgniw
This sounds like it really shook you up, but the policy is clearly stated on their website. It literally took me 15 seconds to find this information. It's unfortunate you went through this, but the information is plainly available and ultimately this falls on you.

Also, hashtags don't work on here.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:54 pm
by LH748
Spam

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:58 pm
by Venatt
masgniw wrote:
This sounds like it really shook you up, but the policy is clearly stated on their website. It literally took me 15 seconds to find this information. It's unfortunate you went through this, but the information is plainly available and ultimately this falls on you.

Also, hashtags don't work on here.


Then why they didn't tell them that over the phone when they initiated the arrangements ? As she says in her statement it looks like BA only wanted to sell tickets.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:05 pm
by masgniw
Venatt wrote:
masgniw wrote:
This sounds like it really shook you up, but the policy is clearly stated on their website. It literally took me 15 seconds to find this information. It's unfortunate you went through this, but the information is plainly available and ultimately this falls on you.

Also, hashtags don't work on here.


Then why they didn't tell them that over the phone when they initiated the arrangements ? As she says in her statement it looks like BA only wanted to sell tickets.


If you have proof they mislead you, then, by all means, file a lawsuit against them. However, they posted their policy publically and you agreed to their contract of carriage, which states you must follow their pet policy. Once you signed this contract (ie bought a ticket), you cooked your goose on this one.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:18 pm
by Venatt
masgniw wrote:
Venatt wrote:
masgniw wrote:
This sounds like it really shook you up, but the policy is clearly stated on their website. It literally took me 15 seconds to find this information. It's unfortunate you went through this, but the information is plainly available and ultimately this falls on you.

Also, hashtags don't work on here.


Then why they didn't tell them that over the phone when they initiated the arrangements ? As she says in her statement it looks like BA only wanted to sell tickets.


If you have proof they mislead you, then, by all means, file a lawsuit against them. However, they posted their policy publically and you agreed to their contract of carriage, which states you must follow their pet policy. Once you signed this contract (ie bought a ticket), you cooked your goose on this one.


If you read the second paragraph it seems like there is a miscommunication problem between the department that gave them the green light and the department that runs their website. If she has emails that show that she was given the green light then she has a case for a lawsuit.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:40 pm
by Seabear
And I thought that the whole "emotional support animal" thing was an American peculiaritiy.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:49 pm
by PatrickZ80
Seabear wrote:
And I thought that the whole "emotional support animal" thing was an American peculiaritiy.


It is, that's probably why British Airways (like most European carriers) doesn't allow for them. I guess Mexico is just as American as the USA in this, but Europe is a different story.

Of course it was wrong of British Airways to misinform you about it, they should have told you straight from the start that emotional support animals are not allowed on board. I guess it's lack of knowledge from the person telling you this. In Europe nobody has an emotional support animal, it's just not done here. Sure there are people that suffer from anxiety and fear of flying just like your daughter, but they manage without an animal. And if they can, so can she. In this case the animal is no more than an ordinary pet. Sounds rude, but that's the way Europeans see it. You should have looked that up before going to Europe.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:54 pm
by ConnectAir
I sympathize with what happened to your daughter. My biggest question is that when you contacted BA to get clearance did they send written approval for carriage of the emotional support dog in the cabin?

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:42 am
by johns624
People--read more closely. It didn't happen to the OP, it happened to a "friend" of his. Also, a couple of questions...1. What does the Home Office have to do with booking private airline tickets? 2. What was the CSA supposed to do, break company rules to help them? 3. Chihuahuas are lousy, ugly, yappy, stupid dogs...and I'm a dog lover.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:22 am
by masgniw
johns624 wrote:
People--read more closely. It didn't happen to the OP, it happened to a "friend" of his.


They edited their post after the fact to add that factoid in, FYI.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:30 am
by Venatt
johns624 wrote:
People--read more closely. It didn't happen to the OP, it happened to a "friend" of his. Also, a couple of questions...1. What does the Home Office have to do with booking private airline tickets? 2. What was the CSA supposed to do, break company rules to help them? 3. Chihuahuas are lousy, ugly, yappy, stupid dogs...and I'm a dog lover.


Thanks for taking the time to read, yes, it didn't happened to me, it happened to a friend that lives in Ireland and she and her daughters went back to Mexico. Apparently this arrangements were done through the Embassy and I guess here is where their personnel screwed up, or could very well have been BA who screwed up. However AM does allow for emotional animals. It's going to be very hard to bring the dog to Mexico because chihuahuas are very nervous dogs and I don't know if they can stand the stress of been flown in a cage form Belfast to London then to Mexico and you know how bad luggage handlers treat animals sometimes. chihuahuas also cannot be left out in the cold.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:14 am
by FlyHappy
nobody here can help you make this "go viral".
and honestly, I don't think you'll find much sympathy for your friend. It just isn't "viral worthy". Not here, not anywhere.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:22 am
by Venatt
FlyHappy wrote:
nobody here can help you make this "go viral".
and honestly, I don't think you'll find much sympathy for your friend. It just isn't "viral worthy". Not here, not anywhere.


Then why are you making a comment on the issue ? Usually when I come across a topic I don't find to be worthy I don't bother to take a few seconds or minutes to talk about it, not here not anywhere.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:09 am
by Blerg
What I don't get is if the child gets an anxiety attack from flying, why force the child to overfly the Atlantic and spend God knows how many hours in a plane? To me this seems like the fault of the parents, not BA or anyone else.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:38 am
by SheikhDjibouti
Venatt wrote:
FlyHappy wrote:
nobody here can help you make this "go viral".
and honestly, I don't think you'll find much sympathy for your friend. It just isn't "viral worthy". Not here, not anywhere.


Then why are you making a comment on the issue ? Usually when I come across a topic I don't find to be worthy I don't bother to take a few seconds or minutes to talk about it, not here not anywhere.

I can't speak for @Flyhappy, but for myself I am also going to comment here, and also offer advice that you may not want to hear.
Why am I doing it?
Because these are discussion boards where a.netters can offer their opinions both for and against a subject. It's what we do.

What these boards are definitely not, is a publicity tool for individuals to float their own pet cause ( :D ) and expect only positive support.

There is such a thing as a "critical friend"; somebody who does you a favor by pointing out a painful truth.

Now to the point itself;
If somebody from BA misled your friend with false information, then you have a case.

As for some of the more emotive comments in your OP - they can be resolved via reductio ad absurdum
In this case simply substitute AK-47 for chihuahua, and you soon see the logic fall apart

e.g. Your friend was told her daughter could carry a AK-47 on board the plane (even though there are rules in place clearly telling you otherwise), but when you got to the airport, the gate agent refused to allow you on board with the AK-47
Sam had a really tough time throughout the journey home....
NO CHILD SHOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH AN EXPERIENCE LIKE THIS...
…. just for the ignorance of an airline and especially of one person that couldn’t find the way to help us when the mistake had been done on their part.

How exactly do you see that "one person" finding a way to help you now with your AK-47, even if the original mistake was made by a colleague from BA?
Obviously they could break the rules and smuggle the AK-47 on board, but where does that leave the other 299 people on that flight.
What about their rights?

Or did you only come here to receive support and positive comments?

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:56 pm
by bagoldex
Venatt wrote:
We sent all the documentation they asked from us: letters from the vet, letters from the psychologist, etc.


Sorry to say but maybe it's time to take this up a notch and go to a psychiatrist capable of prescribing something, even if only to be used for travel. Millions of people around the world suffer anxiety and possess a fear of flying.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:20 pm
by PlymSpotter
Venatt wrote:
johns624 wrote:
People--read more closely. It didn't happen to the OP, it happened to a "friend" of his. Also, a couple of questions...1. What does the Home Office have to do with booking private airline tickets? 2. What was the CSA supposed to do, break company rules to help them? 3. Chihuahuas are lousy, ugly, yappy, stupid dogs...and I'm a dog lover.


Thanks for taking the time to read, yes, it didn't happened to me, it happened to a friend that lives in Ireland and she and her daughters went back to Mexico. Apparently this arrangements were done through the Embassy and I guess here is where their personnel screwed up, or could very well have been BA who screwed up. However AM does allow for emotional animals. It's going to be very hard to bring the dog to Mexico because chihuahuas are very nervous dogs and I don't know if they can stand the stress of been flown in a cage form Belfast to London then to Mexico and you know how bad luggage handlers treat animals sometimes. chihuahuas also cannot be left out in the cold.


So wait, you have someone who is nervous and afraid of flying being comforted by a dog which is very nervous and probably afraid of flying. Sounds like a wonderful combination.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:20 am
by steveinbc
I had an even worse experience with British Airways last year. They ran out of lime for my gin and tonic and they had to use lemons instead. I was traumatized and even the offer of making them doubles didn't stop me from inconsolable crying. No adult fare paying passenger should have to put up with this!!!! :) (End of sarcastic reply).

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:01 am
by Venatt
steveinbc wrote:
I had an even worse experience with British Airways last year. They ran out of lime for my gin and tonic and they had to use lemons instead. I was traumatized and even the offer of making them doubles didn't stop me from inconsolable crying. No adult fare paying passenger should have to put up with this!!!! :) (End of sarcastic reply).


You're funny :D

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:03 am
by Venatt
Blerg wrote:
What I don't get is if the child gets an anxiety attack from flying, why force the child to overfly the Atlantic and spend God knows how many hours in a plane? To me this seems like the fault of the parents, not BA or anyone else.


So was she supposed to then travel by boat ? Wait, I guess they could have taken the Titanic.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:09 am
by Blerg
Venatt wrote:
Blerg wrote:
What I don't get is if the child gets an anxiety attack from flying, why force the child to overfly the Atlantic and spend God knows how many hours in a plane? To me this seems like the fault of the parents, not BA or anyone else.


So was she supposed to then travel by boat ? Wait, I guess they could have taken the Titanic.


They couldn't, the Titanic sank in 1912. If she is afraid of flying then she is not supposed to fly for so many hours. She should stay home or travel to places she can reach by boat or by road. Simple as that. This whole saga with the dog is silly.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:15 am
by spacecadet
Venatt wrote:
So was she supposed to then travel by boat ? Wait, I guess they could have taken the Titanic.


I'm not sure if you're being serious and don't realize that there are other transportation options or if you're putting down the entire idea of travel by sea.

Here: https://www.cunard.com/en-us/cruise-des ... nsatlantic

Many of these crossings are not even very expensive. Some of them cost less than an average TATL airplane ticket. And they're perfectly valid options for someone who's afraid of flying.

Obviously most people these days choose to fly because it's faster and a more modern form of travel, but there's certainly no shame in choosing a surface crossing if you have a legitimate fear of flying. And surface crossings can be a lot of fun too.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:32 am
by excc
Venatt wrote:
johns624 wrote:
People--read more closely. It didn't happen to the OP, it happened to a "friend" of his. Also, a couple of questions...1. What does the Home Office have to do with booking private airline tickets? 2. What was the CSA supposed to do, break company rules to help them? 3. Chihuahuas are lousy, ugly, yappy, stupid dogs...and I'm a dog lover.


Thanks for taking the time to read, yes, it didn't happened to me, it happened to a friend that lives in Ireland and she and her daughters went back to Mexico. Apparently this arrangements were done through the Embassy and I guess here is where their personnel screwed up, or could very well have been BA who screwed up. However AM does allow for emotional animals. It's going to be very hard to bring the dog to Mexico because chihuahuas are very nervous dogs and I don't know if they can stand the stress of been flown in a cage form Belfast to London then to Mexico and you know how bad luggage handlers treat animals sometimes. chihuahuas also cannot be left out in the cold.


Emphasis mine.

So was it about the dog or about the girl?

Was the ticket booked under a single PNR?

I'm not sure about Mexico, but under the USA Air Carrier Access Act, a company flying to the States has to accept an emotional support animal on all legs of a trip, as long as it is booked in one reservation.

For example, TXL - ZRH - JFK booked under one PNR would have to accept an emotional support animal if requested.
Two tickets, for example TXL - ZRH and then ZRH - JFK booked under two seperate PNRs would not allow an emotional support animal to fly on the TXL - ZRH leg.

The only airline in Europe which I know of which accepted emotional support animals was Air Berlin, but they are long gone.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:39 pm
by ricport
Blerg wrote:
What I don't get is if the child gets an anxiety attack from flying, why force the child to overfly the Atlantic and spend God knows how many hours in a plane? To me this seems like the fault of the parents, not BA or anyone else.


Blerg raises an EXCELENT point. But, I'd widen it to beyond a situation like this... I know there are times when it's absolutely necessary to take air travel, but was this REALLY a necessary trip, or a vacation? If the latter, forcing someone who shouldn't really be flying on a plane seems frankly cruel and selfish. Same goes for parents of infants/small children. If the point of the trip is to see grandma & grandpa, how about sending them a ticket to come see you (if they're capable) instead? Just because you CAN (or in this case, maybe not) do something doesn't mean you SHOULD.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:19 pm
by StormRider
Venatt wrote:
Then why they didn't tell them that over the phone when they initiated the arrangements ? As she says in her statement it looks like BA only wanted to sell tickets.

So you have never come across 2 people saying 2 different things while working at the same place? It's typical example of bureaucracy or large companies in general. Why did you/friend not confirm on their website or fine print about this? Also if you have written communications it would have helped bolster the case. I also think that since the emotional support thing isn't as rife in the UK as the US (I think, correct me if I am wrong) the person you spoke to at BA might have thought they were talking about std procedures for a guide dog in the cabin instead and asked for the paperwork regarding that.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:22 pm
by StormRider
johns624 wrote:
People--read more closely. It didn't happen to the OP, it happened to a "friend" of his. Also, a couple of questions...1. What does the Home Office have to do with booking private airline tickets? 2. What was the CSA supposed to do, break company rules to help them? 3. Chihuahuas are lousy, ugly, yappy, stupid dogs...and I'm a dog lover.



Yes I wondered about that too, maybe the person (friend) is a diplomat posted in Mexico and is a UK citizen?
totally agree with #3 (makes me wonder if I wrote it myself)

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:30 am
by Venatt
StormRider wrote:
johns624 wrote:
People--read more closely. It didn't happen to the OP, it happened to a "friend" of his. Also, a couple of questions...1. What does the Home Office have to do with booking private airline tickets? 2. What was the CSA supposed to do, break company rules to help them? 3. Chihuahuas are lousy, ugly, yappy, stupid dogs...and I'm a dog lover.



Yes I wondered about that too, maybe the person (friend) is a diplomat posted in Mexico and is a UK citizen?
totally agree with #3 (makes me wonder if I wrote it myself)


No, my friend is NOT a diplomat posted in Mexico, she is a regular mother of two girls(Mexican nationality) who lives with her boyfriend in Ireland(Irish guy) and went back to Mexico for period of time. I guess is not the end of the world and they'll figure out a way to bring their dog to Mexico.

Re: Bristish Airways Traumatic Experience

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:14 pm
by ChrisKen
excc wrote:
I'm not sure about Mexico, but under the USA Air Carrier Access Act, a company flying to the States has to accept an emotional support animal on all legs of a trip, as long as it is booked in one reservation.

No it doesn't. Many foreign carriers still quite rightly still refuse the myriad of untrained, unregulated and uncertified pets that Americans try to pass off as legitimate support animals. US$150 buys you a certificate for anything, and all the supporting documentation from 'your doctor'.
Either way it does not apply to a UK domestic or UK->Mexico flight.

BA and all other UK airlines quite rightly only accept properly trained and certified service/assistance dogs in the cabin. Indeed doing otherwise would be a breach of the many UK regulations which explicitly bar animals from the passenger cabin (especially on international flights).