Airline apologizes after denying flight to veteran, service dog

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Airline Apologizes After Denying Flight To Veteran, Service Dog


American Airlines has issued an apology to a Marine Corps veteran after accusing him of traveling with a fake service dog and denying them a flight home.

Jason Haag tours the U.S. explaining how service dogs can help wounded veterans like him. Haag was wounded while serving his country and later received Axel, his service dog to help him manage post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury.

"Axel has saved my life there's no doubt about that."

Without any issue, the two boarded an American Airlines flight last week from Virginia to Los Angeles where Axel was named Service Dog of the Year at the 2015 Association Hero Dog Awards.

But when they tried to board a flight home an American Airlines gate agent said no.

"The first question the guy asked me was very combative. He asked me if my dog was real, and if he was a real service dog. I started to list off his tasks and he just cut me off and said, 'You are non-compliant and I'm not going to let you fly.'"

The two were able to catch a different flight home the next day and the airline issued an apology but Haag says it's not enough.

He wants to work with the airline to come up with a better process for people traveling with service dogs to make it easier to fly.

According to ServiceDogCentral.org there are more than 380,000 service dogs across the country.

Related: See dogs at work with the police and military:
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Airline apologizes after denying flight to veteran, service dog
In this photo taken Thursday, May 30, 2013, drug-sniffing police dog Dusty waits for handler Officer Duke Roessel to retrieve a stash of heroin the dog located during a training session at the police station in Bremerton, Wash. The newest drug-sniffing dog on the police force in Bremerton, near Seattle, is one of a few police dogs in Washington state that are not trained to point out pot during searches. Other police departments are considering or in the midst of re-training their dogs to ignore pot as well, part of the new reality in a state where voters last fall legalized marijuana use. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Pasha, a New Jersey Transit Police K-9 bomb dog, stays alert while resting at the Secaucus Junction Station, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, in Secaucus, N.J. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
In this photo taken Thursday, May 30, 2013, drug-sniffing police dog Dusty sticks his head into the front seat as handler Officer Duke Roessel patrols in Bremerton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Marine Cpl. Jordan Encalade is bitten in a burlap and nylon training jacket by patrol dog Leo, a German Shepherd, at the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Thursday, July 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Grant Hindsley)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010, an Iraqi police dog handler watches a bomb-sniffing dog jump a obstacle during a training session at the police college in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Airport police officer Eric Williams, not shown, and "Buc," a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, check a passenger after a news conference and demonstration of dogs that are trained to sniff for explosives, primarily on the bodies of people as well as in luggage, at Los Angeles International Airport Thursday, May 12, 2011.(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
U.S. Park Police officer Dave Moen out out the New York field office praises his dog Blek as the pair practice detecting explosives at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Military Police Sgt. Jodi Stone kisses her dog Bengo as he holds a protective arm-sleeve in his mouth that he tore off of a practice subject during a training session Thursday, Dec. 1, 2005, on a farm in Roy, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Sgt. Debra Faiello; Claudia Babera; and Donna Oakley, from left, help get State Police canine Xena on a table and prepared to draw blood for donation at State Police Headquarters in West Trenton, N.J. Monday, April 18, 2005. Explosives and narcotics trained canines lined up with their handlers to provide units of life-giving blood to dogs in need. (AP Photo/Tim Larsen)
Sergeant Ron Knafla, right, serves as the decoy as Deputy Nathan Budin, left, and German-born sheperd K9 Ronin, center, of the Rice County Sheriff's Office, take part in a bite drill during a Canine Graduation Ceremony at the Ramsey County Regional Canine Training Center in Shoreview, Minn., Thursday, June 3, 2004. Many police agencies are turning to Germany, Holland, Czechoslovakia and other European countries to buy imported dogs they think are surer K9 candidates. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
A Massachusetts State Police officer searches a heavily-wooded area using a specially-trained dog, Wednesday, May 21, 2003, in Palmer, Mass. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)
Officer Jessica T. Waskow of the Cumberland, Wisc., Police Department, gives a kiss to K9 partner Major, a German-born sheperd, after Major posed for a photo after taking part in the Canine Graduation Ceremony at the Ramsey County Regional Canine Training Center in Shoreview, Minn., Thursday, June 3, 2004. Many police agencies are turning to Germany, Holland, Czechoslovakia and other European countries to buy imported dogs they think are surer canine candidates. (APPhoto/Ann Heisenfelt)
A San Jose Police dog named, Dino, who is a Belgium Malinois, checks out baggage from an America West flight with San Jose Police officer Kevin Metcalf on a moving carousel at an airport in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, July 7, 2005. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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