On Tuesday, a female passenger was removed from a Southwest Airlines plane prior to take-off after she learned there were animals onboard and asserted that she had a life-threatening allergy to pets. Video was captured by another passenger showing two officers forcing the woman off the plane after she was unable to provide a medical certificate proving her allergy.
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As reported by NBC Los Angeles, Southwest Airlines has a strict policy that states a passenger can be denied boarding if they don’t have a medical certificate available and they “cannot travel safely with an animal” on the aircraft.
The flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles was confirmed by the airline to have both an emotional support animal and a pet on the flight at the time.
In a statement released by Southwest Airlines, the carrier said, “Our Flight Crew made repeated attempts to explain the situation to the Customer, however, she refused to deplane and law enforcement became involved.”
The woman repeatedly asked the law enforcement personnel what they were doing and claimed that they ripped her pants during the struggle.
“I will walk up, don’t touch me,” the woman was heard saying.
The airline’s statement also said, “We are disheartened by the way this situation unfolded and the customer’s removal by local law enforcement officers,” continuing, “We publicly offer our apologies to this customer for her experience and we will be contacting her directly to address her concerns.”
In the video, the woman, who claimed to be a professor, stated that she was on the plane because her father was scheduled to have surgery the following day.
Bill Dumas, the male passenger that took the video, said everyone on board was prepared to take off when the officers arrived. He stated that the woman was insistent that the two animals on the plane be removed instead of her.
Once the woman was removed, Dumas says a flight attendant explained the airline’s policy to the remaining passengers and stated that the crew seemed to handle the situation well.
The woman was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, resisting arrest, and obstructing and hindering a police officer, though was later released from custody.