Aviation

US airline caught up in new dragging scandal

Oh hell no, here we go again. Another airline has been caught on film having a passenger wrestled and, some might say ‘dragged’, off a flight.

A woman who claimed to have life-threatening allergies to dogs complained to Southwest Airlines staff, after she noticed two dogs were on board the plane.

According to the ABC, the flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles was scheduled to leave Tuesday night local time, when the woman complained.

Crew requested the woman to leave the plane, but when she refused, the crew allegedly called police onto the aircraft to intervene, per ABC.

The scuffle was caught on film by a fellow passenger, who then posted it online:

The scandal is not dissimilar from the scandalous brouhaha that United was embroiled in earlier this year.

Passenger Dr David Dao refused to leave the flight when he was randomly selected to be removed when the plane was overbooked.

Security were called onboard, when he was subsequently dragged off the flight, resulting in a broken nose and other injuries.

United’s initial response was to play the blame game, although they quickly worked out that wasn’t going to help anything when social media turned the storm into a hurricane and the CEO apologised.

Meanwhile, Dr Dao settled on an undisclosed amount with the airline.

Unlike this incident, however, Southwest Airlines apologised immediately for the incident.

“We are disheartened by the way this situation unfolded and the customer’s removal by local law enforcement officers,” spokesman Chris Mainz said, per the ABC.

Mainz explained that the woman didn’t have a medical certificate to prove her pet allergy, preventing her from being allowed to continue on the flight.

Southwest employees, pilot included, spoke quietly to the woman near the back of the plane, ABC reported, with Mainz claiming the airline offered to rebook her the following day.

Her flight was the last of the night, and after she refused, police were called to handle the situation.

The video shows one officer pushed her from behind while another seemingly pulled her from in front, to which she responded, “What are you doing?”

“I will walk off. Don’t touch me,” the woman said.

One of the officer responded with, “All right, let’s walk. Let’s walk”.

The airline has not named the female passenger, who in the video can be heard describing herself as a professor. Apparently, she was going to LA to be with her father when he underwent surgery the next day.

The film producer who filmed the incident, Bill Dumas, told media the woman wasn’t taking the incident lightly.

“She put up a pretty ferocious fight to not be removed from the plane,” Dumas said, per the ABC.

Dumas added the police officers “were in a very, very tough situation” due to the woman refusing to leave the plane, while the Southwest flight was unable to take off with her still onboard.

According to ABC, the airline spokesperson Chris Mainz said, “In most cases, we can separate the animal from customer with an allergy”, however the airline doesn’t notify passengers of animals coming onboard.

“The onus is on the customer to tell us what their needs are.”

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