Blind Man, Service Dog Kicked Off NY-Bound Plane

Friday, Nov 15, 2013  |  Updated 4:17 AM EDT
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A blind Long Island man and his service dog were forced off a flight from Philadelphia after the airline says the dog left its seat and wandered the aisle as the plane was delayed. Marc Santia reports.

NBC 4 New York

A blind Long Island man and his service dog were forced off a flight from Philadelphia after the airline says the dog left its seat and wandered the aisle as the plane was delayed. Marc Santia reports.

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A blind Long Island man and his service dog were forced off a flight from Philadelphia after the airline says the dog left its seat and wandered the aisle as the plane was delayed.

Albert Rizzi, who is from Bellport, says he boarded the US Airways flight with his dog, Doxology, at about 8 p.m. Wednesday. 

After the flight was delayed for more than an hour on the tarmac, Rizzi says the passenger next to him volunteered her space so that Doxy could spread out.

The airline, which says service dogs must be kept at a passenger's feet, says the dog became restless and began walking the aisle. Rizzi disputes this.

According to the airline, Rizzi became verbally abusive when a flight attendant told him he needed to control his guide dog.

"He became disruptive," said US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher.

The pilots turned the plane back to the gate and Rizzi and his dog were escorted off.

US Airways says the flight was then canceled, and some passengers were put on a bus to Long Island.

Two passengers told NBC 4 New York they didn't think Rizzi was out of line.

"From what I could see, he did nothing whatsoever wrong," said Vern Hackworth.

The airline said the situation is being reviewed. 

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