I am terrified of dogs. Have been most of my life. It probably didn’t help that a neighborhood dog terrorized me for the first six years of my life. I am much better at controlling my dog fear now then when I was a small child. But something like this would still cause me to flip out.

I realize that the woman is blind and had to have her dog with her. That’s not the issue. The issue is the passengers around her. My father is severely allergic to dogs. A flight near a dog would leave him in a very bad physical state. More than ten minutes in the company of a dog would reduce me to a sobbing, shuddering wreck.

In elementary school, my fourth grade teacher was training a guide dog and informed us that she would be bringing him in every day to school. By the end of my first day of fourth grade, I was a blubbering, screaming wreck. The teacher had decided that the best way to deal with my fear was to let me sit near the dog and see how gentle he was. I saw. But logic has nothing to do with a phobia, and it has very little to do with being nine. I spent the second day of fourth grade (and the rest of the year) in another classroom. I did my best to avoid the dog at all times, which was fairly easy.

I cross streets to get away from dogs. When we moved to a new neighborhood, my neighbors realized that I was terrified of their puppy and stopped taking him outside for his walk at the exact time that I would get home from school. (A five minute time shift made everyone happy.) It took me four years of international travel to manage to get through customs without clutching at someone’s arm. I’ve almost stopped throwing people between myself and the dog. I was once late to class because my neighbors dog was sitting out side my door, yapping. My neighbors dog is a 6 inch tall poodle. (The only time I jumped up a trip though, was to avoid a goose who decided that I looked like a tasty treat.) My fear knows no logic. I have long since resolved myself to this fact.

Now, part of the problem here was that the plane was a commuter plane and there was only one seat for a steward. I fly commuter planes fairly often (around a dozen or so times a year). I believe I have only twice been on the flight I was registered for. Commuter planes leave one an hour. It takes very little effort or time to transfer to a flight who’s time works for you, especially in a large company like Delta. In addition, most people on commuter planes don’t check baggage nor are they at 100% capacity. (Unless you fly at six pm on Friday. Never fly at six pm on Friday.) There’s a reason they are commuter planes.

The stewardess should have been simply transferred to a later flight. Had it been an actual passenger, simply asking to change seats or take the next flight out (with an offer of a discount) should have sufficed. Personally, I would have volunteered to leave later just to avoid sitting next to a dog. This shouldn’t have been a problem. Being blind trumps most phobias. And good customer service should always be a priority.