A visually impaired woman is missing out on a dream trip to Dublin with her friends after her service dog was denied boarding by WOW airlines.
Nancy Hatch claims she confirmed multiple times with officials in Ireland that she had the appropriate paperwork for her seeing-eye dog named Awesome, but hit a major roadblock when she arrived at Pearson airport Wednesday afternoon.
“I got all the veterinary things, they require certain procedures to be done a specific number of days before you fly, then you have to go to a government office and get everything stamped,” she told CityNews.
But Hatch claims staff at the WOW airlines desk told her that officials in Reykjavik, Iceland — where she would have a two-hour layover – did not have any record of Awesome’s documentation.
“They said that if my dog went, it could be seized in Iceland and put in quarantine,” she said.
CityNews attempted to reach out to WOW airlines Wednesday evening for comment, but did not receive a response before deadline.
Hatch told CityNews she’s travelled to several countries with a certified service dog and has never had an issue.
She said it was never made clear exactly where the error occurred – whether she had missed a step in the process, or if it was a glitch in the airline’s system. The most frustrating part, she said, was that airline staff seemed unwilling to help find a solution, or offer her a refund.
“It was just, ‘no, we cant do anything.’ It was very dismissive,” Peggy Keall, who was scheduled to fly to Dublin with Hatch, along with their group of friends, explained.
“A little common sense along with compassion would have been nice.”
Instead, the pair watched the rest of their friends board the flight without them. They are now out about $800 dollars each.
The two women tried to book a direct flight through Air Transat, who offered them complimentary seats, but ultimately they were unable to go through with it because they were told processing the paperwork through new different airline would take five days.
“I came to go on a vacation wanting to feel like a normal person, blending in with everyone else,” Hatch said.
“Then you get reminded, maybe you’re not.”