Woman removed from Southwest flight, airline apologizes

Posted at 11:24 PM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-28 07:15:29-04

Southwest Airlines is apologizing after an incident involving a Baltimore woman. She was on a plane set to leave BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport when she was removed.

It all started after the woman said she had a life-threatening allergy to animals and demanded that two dogs on board be removed from the flight. 

Video taken by passenger, Bill Dumas shows officials aboard the Southwest Airlines flight trying to remove a Baltimore woman from the plain.

The woman told police she was deathly allergic to dogs. Two were on board that day-- an emotional support animal, and  a passenger's pet.

"She was refusing to leave the plane," Dumas said.

That refusal forced officers to physically escort her off the westbound plane.  Dumas says the woman told officials the passengers with the dogs should leave.

"I could see how it could look like they're using excessive force but she was fighting them very hard and they were very careful not use excessive force."

Dumas says the woman asked for an allergy shot but the flight crew said she'd have to deplane for that-- further explaining they couldn't let her fly because of that allergy.

"They said well we now know you have this allergy, severe allergy we can't let you fly. 

Southwest Airlines issued the following statement Wednesday:

"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."

The video further showed the woman saying she had to be on the flight to get to Los Angeles for her father's surgery.