RaeLynn Says Flight Attendant Harassed Her Over Diabetes Service Dog
The Texan tells Taste of Country that she was repeatedly harassed by an American Airlines flight attendant about her service dog, Jazz — an encounter she also posted about on social media.
"I have never filed a complaint about anything," RaeLynn insists with a chuckle, speaking to us just after a fitting for her ACM Awards dress. “I mean, I don’t even complain about food in restaurants. I’ve just never been like that. But I just couldn’t stay silent about this."
RaeLynn has Type 1 Diabetes — she was actually traveling to a conference to speak on it — and had her 85-pound German Shepherd in tow. "Jazz is my therapy dog, and for years he has been by my side and traveling all over the country," she explains. “In terms of my diabetes, he is there to detect when my sugar levels aren’t right. He goes everywhere with me."
She's flown with him before, but has never faced the kind of disrespect she says she and Jazz were met with on her April 9 flight.
“I’ve never had a minute of trouble. Jazz is trained to know how to lay under the seat of an airplane," she explains, "But this airplane was a small regional plane, and before we even took off, the attendant came up to me and told me that I needed to get the dog completely under the seat for take off. Jazz immediately started crying as I tried to fit him completely under the seat. I mean, if there had been turbulence, he would have been hurt."
Once in the air, RaeLynn says the harassment from the flight attendant only continued. "I did my best to keep (Jazz) there but the flight attendant continued to come to me telling me that I wasn’t being compliant," the country singer furthers. “I probably heard that word five-thousand times. She then accused Jazz of not being trained and not being a service dog, which obviously is not true. The flight attendant was being extremely disrespectful. She talked extremely loud and it was such a small plane."
As they got closer to landing, RaeLynn recalls that the flight attendant went so far as to tell her that the plane would not be able to land until Jazz was completely under the seat. "There are certain regulations when it comes to service dogs and each airline handles it differently, but this flight attendant was extremely mean and completely disrespectful,” she says. "I have never been asked to put a German Shepherd under a seat this size."
RaeLynn tweeted and Instagrammed about the incident after landing and shares that American Airlines was quickly in touch with her about the incident. "Piedmont Airlines, which operated flight 4831 from Charlotte, N.C. to Salisbury-Ocean City, Md., on April 9, is also reviewing these allegations," the airline said in a statement to Fox News.
But RaeLynn is still bothered by what she says transpired.
"This sort of stuff bothers me so much," she adds, speaking quietly. "If I was a flight attendant, I certainly would not have made as big of a scene as she did. It could have been something that was discussed once we landed. It was no way to treat a dog, much less a service dog, and it certainly wasn’t right to treat a passenger like that either."
RaeLynn will be on a plane again soon — she has a number of events booked around the ACM Awards in Las Vegas, which take place this weekend.
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