It’s a lie.
The claim in the cover photo and newsfeed thumbnail about assistance dogs being allowed to fly free of charge with Transavia? Don’t believe it.
Apparently the airline is either A) intentionally defrauding disabled passengers by baiting them with incorrect information and refusing to refund the price of tickets purchased under false pretenses, or B) allowing poorly trained customer service representatives to change company policy at will.
The web page where this fraudulent information is being disseminated is https://www.transavia.com/en-NL/faq/flying-with-service-dog/ . This is the official Transavia website. It is possible that staff could require the IT team to modify the site at any point. However, the screenshots reflect how this page read at the time of ticket purchase. It was only when I notified Transavia as the website instructs about our intent to fly with an assistance dog that we were told such a thing wasn’t possible.
The Discrimination Gods Have Spoken
Official word from Transavia customer service: assistance dogs are not allowed on Transavia flights for “security reason.”
For those who may not have followed my published articles and social media posts in the recent past: I am disabled, receiving benefits, and travel with a working service dog that is affiliated with a recognized service animal training organization in the States. He has all his proper documentation and travels in a marked vest and rigid harness for mobility assistance.
I have been told by Transavia customer service that under no circumstances will he be allowed to travel with me in the cabin in order to help me navigate the jetbridge and walk under my own power in the airport. They insist he must ride in the hold as paid cargo because only "guide dogs for the blind" are allowed in the cabin.
The problem with this is that the Transavia website contains very clear language that assistance dogs are permitted on their flights and very informed conditions are given. My service dog meets all of that criteria. His credentials have never been examined or even requested by Transavia officials. In public Transavia documentation, there is no mention that blindness is the only disability recognized by Transavia airlines. Yet customer service will not acknowledge the language present on the website and has denied us access to the cabin as a working team because he is not a "guide dog for the blind."
I have been told that my tickets are nonrefundable. My issue with that is that if my assistance dog is not permitted to fly with me, then the tickets were sold to me under fraudulent pretenses according to information on the public website. Also there is an absolutely unacceptable element of discrimination, since for someone requiring the use of a mobility assistance dog, being denied access is equivalent to telling a person they cannot fly with their cane, walker, or wheelchair.
While the ACAA (Aircraft Carrier Access Act of 1986) originated in U.S. courts, it has been widely adopted by most reputable airlines around the world, especially those based in First World countries. This is the first instance I have encountered of a service dog being banned from flying with a handler and I have flown with several major airlines. If I am not allowed to travel with my service dog, then I should be entitled to a full refund of all monies paid for airfare and extras (like additional leg room, hold baggage, and pets in hold.) Also I would expect Transavia to change the language on their website to reflect the true nature of their assistance dog policy before any other passengers with a disability are defrauded.