massive dog got a first class seat on an American Airlines flight

Mashable covered this story yesterday and updated it with some new info:

UPDATE 7:40 p.m. ET: Mashable has learned that the dog's name is Hank and he belongs to Kari Whitman, an interior designer who founded Ace of Hearts Dog Rescue in Beverly Hills, California. Hank is Whitman's support animal and, due to an illness, can only move with the aid of a cart, which explains his weight. We hope Hank enjoys many more relaxing flights in first class.
http://mashable.com/2015/10/27/fat-dog-first-class/#e4NF9ubbliq5

If the handle of his cart folds up, the cart might be within the max size restrictions for the CRJ-900s or the E175s, as he was heading to the Eagle gates at LAX (44E shown in the photo).

He's a big emotional support animal.
 
FWAAA said:
He's a big emotional support animal.
...I can say the same for mine. One of mine is very fat due to adult onset bone issues. This was due to heavy doses of steroids used to save her life from a severe illness she had when we saved her from the shelter as a puppy.

Sometimes all is not as it seems. I would rather have sat next to several pax like them than one WT or screaming baby.

Good for AA and the dogs owner for the nice accommodation.
 
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Thats  insane. If there were turbulence you would have a 250 pound dog flying around in the cabin, since I kind of doubt it was effectively utilizing a seatbelt. 
 
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D7571987 said:
Unsafe for everyone else to make one nutcase woman happy. 
 
I agree, but not all service animals are there because of "nutcases."  
 
No one challenges a genuinely trained seeing-eye dog (usually a good-sized German Shepherd) being in the cabin unrestrained.  They are NEVER a behavior problem, but what happens when those flights encounter bad turbulence.  Unrestrained, those seeing-eye dogs are just as much a danger to everyone nearby as the animals belonging to the nutcases.
 
How do you balance safety needs when the passenger is not a "nutcase"?
 
D7571987 said:
Thats  insane. If there were turbulence you would have a 250 pound dog flying around in the cabin, since I kind of doubt it was effectively utilizing a seatbelt. 
 
 
nycbusdriver said:
 
I agree, but not all service animals are there because of "nutcases."  
 
No one challenges a genuinely trained seeing-eye dog (usually a good-sized German Shepherd) being in the cabin unrestrained.  They are NEVER a behavior problem, but what happens when those flights encounter bad turbulence.  Unrestrained, those seeing-eye dogs are just as much a danger to everyone nearby as the animals belonging to the nutcases.
 
How do you balance safety needs when the passenger is not a "nutcase"?
This emotional support animal crap has gone way too far.  I was sitting in DFW terminal one day and two women behind me were talking about the small dog one of them was carrying in her arms.  The friend asked her what they charged her because she knew there was a charge for animals in the cabin.  The dog owner replied, "Oh, there's no charge because he's an emotional support animal.  My doctor will write any note I ask him too; so, that way I don't have to pay the charge that would be imposed."
 
As far as a genuinely trained animal, I don't think I have ever seen one (in my vast career of almost 15 years) that was "unrestrained."  Even though they sit in the floor at the bulkhead, their leash is still attached and held by their owner.  I don't know if that is required, but the owners always seem to have a grip on the leash.
 
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jimntx said:
 
 
As far as a genuinely trained animal, I don't think I have ever seen one (in my vast career of almost 15 years) that was "unrestrained."  Even though they sit in the floor at the bulkhead, their leash is still attached and held by their owner.  I don't know if that is required, but the owners always seem to have a grip on the leash.
 
 
 
When I said unrestrained, I didn't mean a leash or a harness.  The owner will not be able to hold back that dog in the event of really bad turbulence.  On that day, you will get to see dogs fly....whether highly-trained seeing-eye-dogs, or emotional support dogs.
 
That was the point about being a danger to other passengers.
 
Oh, okay.  Difference in interpretation of the word.  You are, of course, right that in bad turbulence or god forbid, an accident there will be nothing to keep the dogs from flying around the cabin.  But, then there won't be that much airspace for flying dogs considering how many passengers are going to be flying around the cabin because the FAR which states that passengers must fasten their seatbelts when the seatbelt sign is on is not the law, it's only a suggestion.
 
jimntx said:
Oh, okay.  Difference in interpretation of the word.  You are, of course, right that in bad turbulence or god forbid, an accident there will be nothing to keep the dogs from flying around the cabin.  But, then there won't be that much airspace for flying dogs considering how many passengers are going to be flying around the cabin because the FAR which states that passengers must fasten their seatbelts when the seatbelt sign is on is not the law, it's only a suggestion.
 
Is that what is called "thread creep"?  
 
D7571987 said:
Unsafe for everyone else to make one nutcase woman happy.
In my twisted world, I thank the lord and my lucky stars that I can fly frequently without the use of an emotional support animal and without the use of a service dog or seeing eye dog. Plenty of worthwhile people aren't so fortunate.

As nycbusdriver pointed out, the unrestrained seeing eye dog of the blind man is just as dangerous as the "nutcase" emotional support animal.

What about returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan? Do you begrudge them an animal to assist them (service dog) or provide emotional support?

Lots of fat-ass humans occupy first class seats, and IMO, they're as annoying (or more so) as the disabled with their dogs.

Here's one of American's prouder moments concerning service dogs:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3246354/Veteran-claims-kicked-American-Airlines-flight-LAX-gate-agents-accused-award-winning-service-dog-fake.html

What a stupid-ass agent at LAX.