Friday, July 25, 2014
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Dog's 'evacuation' forces emergency landing of US Airways flight to PHL

A Philadelphia-bound US Airways flight, already two-hours delayed, was forced to make an emergency landing in Missouri after a passenger’s service dog defecated in the aisle.
A Philadelphia-bound US Airways flight, already two-hours delayed, was forced to make an emergency landing in Missouri after a passenger’s service dog defecated in the aisle. Twitter

Airline passengers often grumble about leg room and the quality of airplane food.

There’s a new complaint being aired by a few hundred souls who boarded a flight Wednesday from Los Angeles to Philadelphia: Not enough pooper-scoopers.

A Philadelphia-bound US Airways flight, already two-hours delayed, was forced to make an emergency landing in Missouri after a passenger’s service dog defecated in the aisle.

“It was the worst smelling blowout I’ve ever smelled,” passenger Steve McCall told Inside Edition. “It wasn’t little pieces, it was full-fledged dog diarrhea.”

The crew was able to clean up the dog’s mess. But then the situation took a turn for the worse.

The dog pooped again.

The stench wafting through the cabin made several passengers sick.

 "The second time after the dog pooped they ran out of paper towels, they didn't have anything else,” said McCall. “The pilot comes on the radio, ‘Hey, we have a situation in the back, we're going to have to emergency land.’ " 

Outraged passengers documented the incident on Twitter and other social media platforms.

 “People started dry-heaving, a couple of people threw up,” McCall said. “The first time was bad, the second time people said ‘You got to get us out of here! This is nasty.' ”  

The plane was diverted to Kansas City. A cleaning crew scoured the aisle. The voyage resumed.

“You just had to laugh,” McCall said. “It was so outrageous and out of control. It was a story you couldn’t make up.”

Service dogs are "usually excellent flyers," said Bill McGlashen, spokesman for US Airways. "They know how to behave and sit in the right area. And this is just one of the those incidents when the dog became ill."

Folks who rely on service dogs every day say the incident may be much ado about nothing. 

"I'm sure this would not be a news story if a human had been sick on a plane," said Jim Kutsch, president and CEO at The Seeing Eye in Morristown, N.J. and a Seeing Eye dog user since 1970. "Dogs are living beings and they, too, get sick."

Dogs routinely spend many hours without needing to relieve themselves, he said. Travelers with service dogs usually adjust the feeding schedules of their animals to accomodate a long flight. 

"Seeing Eye has been around since 1929, and if this is the first time that a story like this gets this much attention, it obviously doesn't happen very often."


Contact Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or samwood@phillynews.com. Follow @samwoodiii on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

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