A passenger on a flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles was pulled off a Southwest Airlines plane on Tuesday night by police.
It happened after the customer apparently refused to leave the aircraft on her own.
Reports say she was complaining about an emotional support animal on board, claiming she was deathly allergic to the pet. Southwest officials say she was unable to provide a medical certificate necessary to prove the allergy.
An official from Southwest said that a customer without a medical certificate may be denied boarding if they report a life-threatening allergic reaction and cannot travel safely with an animal on board. They say after explaining the situation, the passenger allegedly refused to leave the plane, and law enforcement was forced to step in and removed her.
“Come on, lady let’s go,” the officer can be heard saying in a video recorded by another passenger.
“What are you doing?” the woman responded. “I will walk off! Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me!”
The woman can be heard screaming as others urged her to walk out on her own.
“She just lost control of the situation and she was way in over her head by the point that the police were trying to take her out,” passenger Bill Dumas said.
“It’s a complicated situation because if she needs to get somewhere, it’s too bad that she’s required to leave when there’s pets on board,” one person said.
“It just seemed like she wanted to make a fuss about it, and she wanted to cause a scene,” another person said.
Southwest released this statement regarding the incident:
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“We are disheartened by the way this situation unfolded and the Customer’s removal by local law enforcement officers. We publicly offer our apologies to this Customer for her experience and we will be contacting her directly to address her concerns. Southwest Airlines was built on Customer Service, and it is always our goal for all Customers to have a positive experience.
Initial reports indicate the Customer in the video stated that she had a life-threatening pet allergy, but she was unable to provide the medical certificate necessary to complete travel. There was one emotional support animal and one pet onboard the aircraft. Our policy states that a Customer (without a medical certificate) may be denied boarding if they report a life-threatening allergic reaction and cannot travel safely with an animal onboard. Our Flight Crew made repeated attempts to explain the situation to the Customer, however, she refused to deplane and law enforcement became involved.”
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