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.
Join Our Conversation

ADVERTISEMENT

Travel Tips

Prince Edward Island, Canada

Fall Cruises: Better Than Land Tours? It Gives Guests ‘A European Experience Without Leaving North America’

Fall cruises for foliage in the northeast are now becoming more and more popular as each year goes by. The foliage that is part of the tour is unlike any other place in the country. In fact, more guests are even paying good money to cruise the rivers, as well as the oceans, in order to peep leaves instead of having to brave today’s highly crowded roads and hotels on land.

Subscribe to our newsletter

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

Want more Travel?

Most Popular

Daniela Poggiali

Nurse Kills 38 Patients Because She Got Annoyed; Co-Workers Say Italian Nurse Daniela Poggiali Is 'Cynical And Vindictive'

Nurse Kills 38 Patients - Italian nurse Daniela Poggiali is one healthcare professional you should be wary of if ever you get confined in a hospital in Italy. For one thing, she is notorious for killing up to 38 patients after she got completely annoyed of them or of their families.

Cattle Return From Alpine Summer Grazing

World's Tallest Cattle Found In Illinois, How Tall Is Blosom The Cow?

World’s tallest cattle is found in Illinois. Owned by Patty Hanson, Blosom the cow has been named Guinness World Records’ tallest cow. How big and tall exactly is Blosom?

Grizzly Bear

Man, 56, Attacked By Bear Shot Accidentally By Hunting Partner Who Tried To Save Him From The Beast

A man attacked by bear was shot by his friend while the latter was attempting to spare him from the brutal attack of the beast.

Debris field spotted on radar at time of the Louisiana loud boom

Louisiana Loud Boom: Mysterious ‘Sonic Boom’ In The Sky Rattles Residents, ‘Debris Field’ Spotted, What Is The ArkLaTex ‘Boom’?

The Louisiana loud boom which was heard and rattled many north eastern Louisiana residents is as of this moment still left unexplained. However, now the National Weather Service has added that whatever the cause of the Louisiana loud boom, it has left a debris field.

Illness Observation

Ebola Airborne CDC: Widespread Outbreak Possible, More Contagious Virus Than Thought

The Executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Jane Orient, claimed the world is dealing a different kind of Ebola virus, one which is more potent and can be transmitted in air via droplets.

Brazil is currently treating and monitoring its first suspected case of Ebola. A 47 year-old man from Guinea reportedly manifest fever withing the 21 day-incubation period of the virus.

Brazil Confirms First Suspected Ebola Case

Brazil treats its first ever suspected case of Ebola while waiting for the results of a blood test which is due to be released on Saturday.

Ebola Press Conference Boston Logan Airport

Ebola In Boston: Two Ebola Mass. Scares Raises Fears Despite Braintree Patient Declared Not At Risk, What Is The Different Types Of Ebola Risks?

Fears over Ebola in Boston have heightened after two Massachusetts scares flared up over the Columbus Day weekend. Raised concerns over Ebola in Boston have since prompted holiday press conferences and reverse 911 calls to reassure the public.

American Airlines jet landing at DCA

American Airlines Flight Depressurized Due To Cracks In Cabin Walls; Plane Had Emergency Landing

American Airlines had to have an emergency landing after its cabin walls started to break apart as its passengers, absolutely terrified, had no choice but to look on and shout for help. One of the passengers, James Wilson, said that he felt something was wrong when the fuselage started to shake violently and heard some popping noises outside the plane.

Tropical Storm Ana 2014

Tropical Storm Ana 2014: Hurricane Watch May Be Required In Hawaiian Islands Because Of Strong Intensity Tropical Storm

Tropical Storm Ana 2014 - The new tropical storm named Ana is currently getting stronger and stronger with maximum sustained winds at 70 mph or 110 km/h and it is expected to hit the main Hawaiian islands on Wednesday, KHON2 first reported.

Mount Sinabung spews pyroclastic smoke, seen from Tiga Pancur village on February 12, 2014 in Karo District, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

Mount Sinabung Eruption 2014: Hauntingly Beautiful Lava And Ash Prompts Evacuations, Eruption Reaches Fourth Successive Day

A Mount Sinabung eruption 2014 occurred Friday, with the volcano spewing tons of molten lava and ash, captured in hauntingly beautiful photos. The initial Mount Sinabung eruption 2014 for the month, the latest in a recent set of eruptions of the Indonesian volcano took place Wednesday afternoon.

Find Us on Facebook

travelers today

© Copyright 2014 Travelers Today All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Real Time Analytics