89 Year Old Woman ‘Stranded In Atlanta’ After Being Kicked Off Delta Flight

It’s much harder than it used to be to travel with an emotional support animal for free, after new airline and Department of Transportation rules attemped to discourage the practice.

However you can still pay a ‘pet in cabin’ fee for an eligible animal that fits in the storage are beneath your seat. A little number of these are allowed on board, it’s best to have a reservation in advance, and it takes the place of your carry on bag.

One woman in Atlanta – 89 years ago, and just out of the hospital the day before – found herself stranded after a mix up on Delta Air Lines. She seemingly paid the pet in cabin fee but the flight wasn’t updated to reflect the pet in the cabin. Delta says the problem was her dog barked.

She was asked to leave the aircraft. She showed her pet in cabin receipt – but wasn’t allowed back on, she says, because the little dog barked during the interaction. And she’d made the classic error of putting her medications in her checked baggage. Normally there are two kinds of baggage – carry on and lost – but in this case the checked bags were simply on the aircraft, while the passenger was not.

Delta explains that the removal for barking was at the pilot’s request.

Based on the twitter profile of the woman traveling with the 89 year old, it appears they were flying to Greenville-Spartanburg 153 miles away. Delta offers 7 peak daily mainline departures, and was willing to place them on a later flight. However the passengers report not being able to wait.

The good news, I suppose, is that heading into the busy holiday travel weekend this woman would probably have been stranded anyway since she was flying Delta – which is offering a travel waiver even without bad weather. They’ve told flyers that anyone not wishing to run the gauntlet of trying to fly amidst the chaos and hobbled operations can reschedule their flights. But if they can’t manage to do it self-serve on the internet, they’ll need to call, and of course Delta doesn’t answer the phone.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This is awful. Delta did the right thing. If I were on a flight with a yapping dog, I’d pitch a serious fit. No matter how old you are, what disabilities you might have, or how your pet behaves, you gotta pay attention and THINK about what you want to do. It’s called ‘personal responsibility’. If that’s a challenge, get someone to help you make plans. Like a daughter who can post on social media but lets her mother get into a jam like this.

  2. Presumably someone was at the destination airport to pick her up. Only 150 miles? Crazy to let an aged lady one day from the hospital fly alone.

    Someone should have driven to get her.

  3. A sad story. Probably the captain should have been informed of the passenger’s condition and may have been more accommodating, but we don’t know from this how yappy the dog was. Giving a canine sedative might have taken care of the problem before it began. I am certainly not trying to blame the victim, and the crudeness of brushing off the issue by saying to fill out a form is utterly insensitive. What strikes me though is that this was a very short flight. Given that two people were traveling, would it have been easier and no more expensive to hire a car and driver for the distance?

  4. Barking humans are ok, though? A family of 4 should test this. On the last leg of their round trip flight, when almost landing maybe 30 minutes before, one family member barks maybe 25 times. Then another one does the same. So a total of 100 barks.

  5. What Idiots let their Mother-just discharged from the hospital travel and with her dog???? That puts a lot on the airline and FA’s to deal with!!!! If she has been hospitalized she is probably too weak to travel anyway and then add SHE IS BLIND?? Shame on her FAMILY to do this–Elder Abuse comes to mind!! and of course blame and SUE delta… nuts

  6. I see no difference between a barking dog and a screaming kid. The lady was almost 90 and the flight was what….40 minutes? Of course, it’s okay for Delta to screw people for hours or even days at a time….as long as they apologize in advance for their crumbling operation and abysmal customer service.

  7. Seems her daughter wasn’t willing to drive 150 miles to pick up her 89 year old, legally blind mother. How on earth did she reason that it was, in any way, better for her 89 year old legally blind mother to fly. 4 hrs out of her time is all it would have taken.

  8. So is this the daughter that shot the video? It sure wasn’t a selfie by the senior.
    Did she decide to do a video AFTER she got to the airport to get her mom and then drive her – which is what she should have done in the first place?

    As noted above, it is criminal that someone was dropped off at an airport after 2 weeks of hospitalization – pet or no pet – and that the person was a legally blind senior. Unless Delta grabbed the bags without authorization and checked them, it is not Delta’s fault that the lady was without meds.

    Thanks for the reminder, Gary, that NO ONE should leave some one that can’t travel by themselves alone at an airport and expect everything to go smoothly; not even experienced flyers have that expectation. Add in a dog which a whole lot of people don’t want on planes anyway and things can go south – literally – quickly.

  9. Gary Leff::
    LOL to
    ” Normally there are two kinds of baggage – carry on and lost ” 🙂

    Good one!!

  10. Why was this aged woman, just out of the hospital, traveling alone with her dog? Where was the dog when she was in the hospital? Lots of unanswered questions here, including how much the dog was really barking, I am pretty sure the animal was reacting to the stress as well. Shame on Delta for first botching this situation and then letting this situation get out of control. After listening to someone barking into their cellphone yesterday before my flight took off, I can assure Delta that I’d have much preferred a dog that barked a few times.

  11. An 89-year-old shouldn’t be flying 153 miles with an in-cabin pet the day after she gets out of the hospital. Atlanta to Greenville is around a two-hour drive. It took longer to build the Twitter thread than to get home. I’m not big on forgiving service failures from an airline, but this entire situation could have been easily avoided.

  12. @Christian- the bags weren’t lost. They just weren’t accessible from the belly of the plane.

  13. @jimc – I was responding to Gary’s “two kinds of bags – carry on and lost” assertion. Using that premise, if the bags weren’t carryon by definition they were lost.

  14. @Huey Judy. It was a 20 minute flight. I am sure you would have survived perfectly fine for 20 minutes. If it were a transcon I might agree with you. But, seriously, 88 years old and a 20 minute flight, does not take much to have a bit of compassion at that point.

  15. Gary,

    What ever happened to the procedure that if you didn’t get on the plane, or got off, your checked bags had to be removed (security issue).

  16. Who would let a 88 yr old legally blind person that can not walk well travel alone?
    Who would let a 88 yr parent that JUST got out of a hospital go on a plane?
    Who lets a 88 yr pack their luggage with their medication.
    If you can not control your “Pet” the pet should not be flying. A barking dog should not have been flying. Drive mommy Dearest the 153 miles you will be there in 3 hrs.
    I think Senior Services needs to be called on this lady because Rosann Jones is NOT taking proper care of her.
    She was in the emergency room after the trip because she JUST GOT OUT OF THE HOSPITAL and should not have been flying.
    Love it when these idiots blame the Airlines because they do stupid things.
    The airline probably wanted to refuse her travel because of her health alone. That lady was in NO condition able to get out of a plane in the event of an emergency
    As for those comparing a barking dog to a screaming kid. ADA dogs are well behaved pets are not. Kids are the product of bad parents.

    Hey @Stuart it only takes 1 min for a plane to lose control and crash, not 20 min

  17. Point your fingers at the captain, if you need a scapegoat. Her kids/grandkids may have a perfectly good reason but to assume any inept personal responsibility is at best presumptuous. Irrelevant anyway. She paid for the dog – because it’s a product for sale. If you don’t want dogs, don’t sell the product & then arbitrarily chuck someone.
    Baby’s will cry & dogs will bark. As long as you sell tickets to both, you better train your staff to accommodate – themselves & other paying & complaining passengers.

  18. David Miller. I will Do not fly 24 hrs after leaving a 2 week hospital visit. It is just stupid and I want to see the doctor note that says she CAN fly. If she had such a problem waiting for the next flight it is obvious she was not able to fly

    And I would not of sent my 86 year old seeing walking mother on a plane but drove her and her dog

  19. Dillon york – apparently you are completely versed on all of the circumstances involving this woman. And I have no idea as to what you are trying to say when you say this -“And I would not of sent my 86 year old seeing walking mother on a plane but drove her and her dog” — what? Complete sentences are helpful when trying to make a statement.

  20. David this lady can not see as she is legally blind and as she is in a wheelchair she can not walk well Read the article

  21. Dillon – I believe that we can agree that this whole episode was handled incorrectly and that it could have been avoided. After all is said and done, she is the one who has suffered while everyone else did not do her right.

  22. Wtf you need a damn dog to fly with when you can barely take care of yourself. Her daughter should be ashamed for not being there for her through this entire medical procedure.

  23. An 89 year old woman, recently released from hospital with a dog flying unattended. The whole thing doesn’t make sense. Where was a family member or friend to help her? Where was the dog while she was in hospital? Are you sure this story isn’t fabricated?

  24. The daughter should have never let her travel alone being her age and just getting out of the hospital. It’s only a few hour drive from ATL-GSP.

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