American Airline denies vet and service dog flight access - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

American Airline denies vet and service dog flight access

McCombs says Jake is trained to sense when her anxiety levels are high. (Photo source: WLOX News) McCombs says Jake is trained to sense when her anxiety levels are high. (Photo source: WLOX News)
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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Army veteran Lisa McCombs of Diamondhead says her 7-year-old chocolate lab, Jake, is an invaluable part of her life. 

"He's my best friend. He's everything for me," said McCombs, who suffers from extreme anxiety.

Jake is trained to sense when her anxiety or panic levels are high, and did so recently when McCombs was greeted by an American Airlines gate agent who made a joke about Jake flying with her.

"A crazy, obnoxious situation took place - arguing back and forth, humiliation, harassment and ultimately my flight was denied," McCombs said. "The whole situation perpetuated my disability. It sent me into crisis mode."

McCombs says she was told she didn't have the proper documentation needed to fly with Jake, but Jake was recently upgraded from a service dog to a medical alert service dog, which doesn't require documentation.

After multiple phone calls and 48 hours of waiting, McCombs and Jake were finally able to board a flight and get home. Through the upsetting situation, McCombs says Jake was right there.

"He comes to me, presses his body tightly against me, licks my face. He's a calming mechanism for me to be able to cope with my disability. So he did exactly what he was supposed to do," McCombs said.

Since the interview with McCombs, American Airline officials have contacted her saying their company is committed to veterans. The vet says the airline is owning their mistake but realize they can't change what happened, and are willing to do whatever it takes to make it right.

McCombs says she'll determine how they can do that, after seeking council from her lawyer.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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