Subscribe Now

travelers today

Home » News

Disabled Veteran's United Airlines Nightmare: Service Dog Kicked, Cancelled Flights, Called Retarded

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Jul 23, 2012 10:27 AM EDT

Text Size: A A A

Stanek
Jim Stanek and his service dog were severely mistreated by United Airlines staff this month in a three-day ordeal.(Photo : Paws and Stripes Facebook)

Disabled veteran and co-founder of Paws and Stripes, Jim Stanek, took to YouTube to tell the story of his nightmare encounter with United Airlines. Stanek claims that he dealt with three days' worth of delayed and cancelled flights, lost luggage, being called 'retarded' by customer service staff, and even having his service dog kicked twice in the airport by United staff.

Flying can be a nightmare for many, but Stanek discussed the horrendous way he and his dog Sarge were treated as he tried to make his way through various United Airlines flights.  Stanek suffers from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury from serving three tours in Iraq.

Share This Story

His story began when he was flying to Knoxville, Tennessee on July 13 for a fundraiser the next day. He had no issues with the flight itself, but United did lose his baggage which contained his medicine and food for his service dog, Sarge. The airline later found his bag that evening, but they refused to deliver it to Stanek right away even though it was marked for rush delivery according to a computer system. Needing his medication and food for his dog, Stanek drove an hour back to the airport to pick up the luggage himself.

However that wasn't Stanek's issue. He was trying to fly home to Albuquerque from Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. on Jul 15 when his real nightmare started.  He claims that while he was waiting for his flight, a United employee accidentally kicked his service dog, which left his dog startled. They "didn't kick her hard, but ... they kicked her," Stanek said.

Stanek's flight was then delayed due to mechanical issue. However a pilot later told the passengers that he refused to fly that night, leaving them under the impression that the flight was cancelled, but it was put under a four hour delay. Stanek tried to ask for assistance from United employees, but he was ignored and felt like his "concerns didn't really matter."

The flight was later cancelled. Stanek had to continuously ask for help from a supervisor as he was in emotional and physical pain due to his PTSD and brain injury acting up. The supervisor helped him and set him up with a hotel and food vouchers and booked him on a new flight the next day.

This nightmare continued the on July 16 at the airport once again. Stanek was sitting with his service dog, waiting for the new flight when another United Airlines employee once again kicked his dog Sarge. However, this time the dog was kicked so hard in the ribs that she jumped up into Stanek's lap.

Stanek's new flight was also cancelled due to a mechanical issue. Not wanting to be stuck at the airport again, Stanek called customer service and was booked on a flight for the next morning. Once he got the flight set up through the phone, Stanek went to the customer service desk to request another hotel and food voucher for the night. Stanek couldn't stand in line due to physical pain and PTSD symptoms.

Once he got to the front of the desk, he asked for the vouchers, but a United employee told him that he didn't qualify for the vouchers because the original flight was rescheduled for later that night. He explained how he had booked another flight after hearing that the flight was cancelled. He asked the employee for help with the paperwork because he wasn't able to read the paperwork due to effects from his brain injury. Since he wasn't able to read the paperwork, the employee asked Stanek if he was "retarded." Stanek, who was patient throughout the process, lost his cool at that point.

Eventually another customer service agent was able to help him. Stanek once again went to a hotel to spend the night.  He returned to the airport the next morning on July 17 for the flight that he booked, but the flight was being delayed for two hours, meaning that he would miss his connecting flight and be stuck in Chicago O'Hare.

Stanek asked if there was anything that the staff could do to help him. The United staff booked him on another evening flight, meaning Stanek would be stuck at the airport for the whole day. He asked for a pillow and a blanket to rest in the airport and he was refused several times until the employee finally gave in.

Later on, Stanek's nightmare eventually came to an end. Two United Airlines employees approached him and asked for his military identification. They immediately helped him and rescheduled him on an earlier flight on an American Airlines plane.

 "I am just absolutely distraught that my dog was kicked twice, I was asked if I was retarded after explaining that I have a brain injury. It bothers me to think that let alone a disabled veteran and even an average citizen of the United States with a disability could be potentially treated this way," Stanek said in response to the whole ordeal.

Stanek doesn't want people to boycott United Airlines, but he does want United and others to be aware of the ordeal that he went through as he feels that he should have been treated better and wants what's best for other disabled citizens.

"I ask that you look at the situation and understand how I was treated and my dog was treated and that I'm sure that there may be other individuals out there that are kind of going through the same thing." Stanek said. "I think this needs to be an education process. I think this needs to be rectified. I think people need to know"

The Department of Transportation is conducting an investigation of the issue. United Airlines is also investgating Stanek's claims.

To learn more about Paws And Stripes, check out their website and Facebook page.

 

© 2014 Traverlers Today, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Featured Video : Greenwich
Join Our Conversation
Don't Miss..
JEFFREYSDAVIS_ANIM
News UKRAINE CRISIS

Ukriane Crisis Update: Russia Has A 'Right' To Invade Ukaine, Says Putin

Ukraine crisis update is very much an issue right now as Russian President Vladimir Putin has asserted Russia’s “right” to invade the country. The Ukraine crisis update is that Putin’s invasion declaration was made while Putin was on a live phone-in.

News Auburn University

Auburn University Bomb Threat Update: "Threatening Message" Sparks Chaos In A University In Alabama

Auburn University bomb threat in Alabama had school officials cancelling classes on Wednesday. Police told FoxNews that an unsubstantiated threat was found and the school had to cancel all classes over the Auburn University bomb threat rampage.

News bees

Allegiant Air Flight Forced to Turn Back to Las Vegas After Hitting Swarm of Bees

An Allegiant Air flight from Las Vegas to Duluth, Minn., was forced to turn back to Sin City because it hit a swarm of bees, which caused a terrible smell to fill the plane.

Travel Tips An Alitalia plane approaches to land at Fiumicino International Airport in Rome September 25, 2008.

Memorial Day Weekend 2014: The Best Days to Fly During Holiday Weekend

Memorial Day will be here before you know it and that means it's time to start planning your trips for the holiday weekend and Travelocity is helping travelers make plans that could save them money.

News Allegiant Airlines

Allegiant Air Offers Giant Seats at 25 Inches Wide on Select Flights to Hawaii and the Western U.S.

Allegiant Air is now offering "Giant Seats" on select flights. The airline has added extra large seats to some economy rows on Boeing 757 planes that make long-haul flight to the Hawaiian cities of Honolulu and Maui and some cities in the western U.S.

News Black bear attack in Florida injured a 45 year-old woman by dragging her from the garage to the driveway.

Recent Bear Attack In Florida: This Woman's Experience Of Bear Attack Shows Why You Should Read Up On Animals You Might Encounter On Your Next Travel Destination

Recent bear attack in Florida on a woman proves that just because you’re travelling, everything will go according to plan and the universe will magically make your stay in a certain destination worthwhile.

News Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon Qualifying Times: How To Get Into The 2014 Boston Marathon And What Happens Now With Stricter Security

Boston Marathon Qualifying Times has just been posted on their website, though these may still be subject to change. With the Boston Marathon bombing incident last year, stricter security is enforced and most probably stricter enforcement of the Boston Marathon Qualifying Times.

Travel Tips John W. Schulze

Travel Airfare: Top 5 Tips On Searching The Best Airfare For Your Vacation

Travel airfare, despite hundreds of promos available, isn’t all they’re cracked up to be. On the one hand, some routes are still higher than they were in previous years, and some even keep getting higher. What’s different now is that more people can afford travel airfare and more and more are realizing the benefits of traveling in their lives.

News BLOOD MOON 2014 [VIDEO] IN CASE YOU MISSED THE RARE BLOODY LUNAR ECLIPSE LAST NIGHT

Bloody Moon 2014: In Case You Missed The Rare Bloody Lunar Eclipse

Blood moon 2014 - believe us when we say that it was an exhilarating view with an apocalyptic feel to it. The rare bloody red lunar eclipse last night was indeed a spectacular sighting that's not for the faint-hearted.

ADVERTISEMENT

Travel Tips

matzoh

Passover 2014: TSA Releases Special Guidelines for Matzoh and Other Religious Items During Jewish Holiday Travel Period

Traveling for the Passover 2014 holiday? The TSA has some tips. The Transportation Security Administration released specific rules for Jewish passengers traveling during Passover, including what to do with Matzoh.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest travel news, reviews, and more..

Want more Travel?

Most Popular

PHILLIP WOOD FLIGHT 370 HIJACKING CONSPIRACY: ARISES AMIDST MISSING MALAYSIA AIRLINES PLANE SEARCH. IS THE THEORY TRUE?

Phllip Wood Flight 370 Hijacking Conspiracy: Arises Amidst Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane Search. Is The Theory True?

Phillip Wood Flight 370 hijacking conspiracy started spreading on the Internet this week. The US says the Phillip Wood Flight 370 hijacking conspiracy theories are completely ‘baseless’ despite some people believing it to be true.

Poveglia Haunted Island In Italy Being Sold

Poveglia Haunted Island In Italy Being Sold [PHOTOS]: Why Is It For Sale? Who Would Want To Buy It?

Poveglia haunted island in Italy is probably the most haunted island in the whole world, and now it’s surprisingly for sale. Reports claim that the former mental hospital and plague trench could become a luxury hotel. Poveglia haunted island in Italy is put up for sale by the Italian government.

20 Secrets You Don’t Know About Flying Confessed by Pilots and Flight Attendants

Travel Tips: 20 Secrets You Don’t Know About Flying Confessed by Pilots and Flight Attendants

Travel tips actually confessed by employees of airlines can be hard to come by these days. Below are some of the secrets of pilots, flight attendants, and engineers when it comes to flying.

 MjaMes1408

Italy Tourist Spots for Summer [PHOTOS] Secret Italian Summer Getaways You’ve Never Heard of But are Totally Awesome

Italy tourist spots for summer: 6 surprisingly secret Italian summer getaways you’ve never heard of but are totally awesome.

Campers cool off in the heat of the desert during the 2nd day of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, California April 16, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The Coolest Music Festivals of 2014

Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock may be a distant memory, but you can still look forward to a hazy summer lying in the grass listening to your favourite bands. Unfortunately, we can't go back to hear Jimi at Woodstock (time machines are way overdue, right?), but with increasingly cheaper airfares, music festivals around the world are right outside our doorstep. A dream summer for me would be touring them all!

Youths fight with pillows during a flash mob in a park in central Kiev July 31, 2013. Some 100 people participated in a social media flash mob called "Pillow Fight". REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Staycation Summer - How to have Holiday Fun for a Very Small Sum

If you're finding the economy's let you down substantially this year, and you can't afford to go on vacation, take heart that you're not the only one. In my 'Staycation' articles, I'll be helping you find cheap and free ways to have fun this summer.

Galicia, Spain

Top 3 Backpacking Destinations to Escape to in 2014

Nothing’s better than welcoming 2014 in a foreign place. A traveler is welcomed with incomparable diversity, fresh faces and possible even a new beginning to start the New Year right.

Find Us on Facebook

travelers today

© Copyright 2014 Travelers Today All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter