By now, you’re probably familiar with some of the horror stories where passengers are forcefully removed from their flights. There was that man who was dragged off a United Airlines plane, a little boy who couldn’t get a seat with his parents and a woman who missed out on her dream trip, all because their flights were overbooked. But the newest story of a passenger being forced off a flight is a bit different in nature than the others.
Southwest Airlines recently had police use physical force to remove a woman from a flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles because she had a life-threatening pet allergy. And let’s just say that things escalated pretty darn quickly.
Here’s how it all went down: After noticing that there were two dogs on board her flight, the woman requested an allergy shot from the flight staff. She was then told she’d need to get off the flight to have the shot, which she refused to do — she argued that the people with pets should be the ones to leave the plane. Police were called over pretty quickly to remove her when the staff realized that she didn’t have proper medical documentation giving her permission to fly with a life-threatening allergy. Not only did she miss her flight, but now she’s also being charged with resisting an arrest.
According to passengers, the airline gave her the option to take another flight, but she shot the idea down as it was for the following morning. Even one of the pilots tried to reason with the woman before she was escorted off by police.
“We are disheartened by the way this situation unfolded and the customer’s removal by local law enforcement officers,” stated Chris Mainz, a spokesperson from Southwest Airlines.
But as unpleasant as it is to watch the woman get escorted off the aircraft by cops in the video, which was recorded by a fellow passenger, it brings up a good point. Who should be prioritized? People with pets and service animals or people with severe allergies to pets? Really, everyone should be protected equally, whether they have a my-way-or-the-highway attitude or not. Although some points have been made in favour of the woman’s removal from the plane — the plane couldn’t take off until she left, she wouldn’t accept a compromise and she wouldn’t leave peacefully — it’ll definitely take some time for Southwest Airlines to recover from this one.