A man and his Labrador service dog were denied boarding on a flight bound for Mexico City.
Davis Hawn and his Labrador service dog, Savior, are now traveling from New Orleans to Mexico City by land.
Hawn said he doesn’t go anywhere without his buddy, Savior. The Labrador service dog helps him go about his everyday life. He said Savior is his most valuable “piece of medical equipment.”
“If you’re blind, the dog is your eyes by proxy,” Hawn told KRGV News. “If you’re deaf, the hearing dog is your ears. If you’re a war veteran with psychiatric issues, the dog is your mental well-being.”
“You never separate the dog from the person, because the dog is, by proxy, part of your body.”
Hawn and Savior were on their way from New Orleans to Mexico City and made a quick stop in the Rio Grande Valley.
“I decided to stop off in McAllen because a friend of mine, who is a war veteran, has stage-four breast cancer,” Hawn said.
Hawn and Savior were supposed to be on Aeromar Flight 799 but they weren’t allowed to board the plane.
“They looked at the dog and they said, ‘Did you bring his box?’” he said. “I said, ‘I never travel with a box for my service dog.’” They replied, “Our plane is too small to fly a service dog.”
The staff at the counter called Aeromar’s home office in Mexico City.
“Apparently the corporate philosophy was, they weren’t going to fly a service dog,” Hawn said.“I don’t blame the counter help. They weren’t trained properly.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation said all service animals are allowed to travel in airplane cabins. They also said airlines doing business in the United States must accommodate service animals.
Hawn said service dogs cannot assist people when they are inside a kennel.
“My dog was not going to be in a cargo box in 100 degree heat, flying on a little plane going into Mexico today,” Hawn said. “Number one, it’s not a requirement. It’s against the law, but number two, I’m not going to risk the life of my best friend.”