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A woman was forcefully removed from Southwest flight 1525 from Baltimore (BWI) to Los Angeles (LAX) on September 26 after refusing to deplane; the passenger raised a concern that she may have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to two dogs that were also on board the flight, KTLA5 reported. The carrier said that one of the dogs was an emotional support animal and the other was a pet — both belonging to other passengers — and that per the airline’s policy, it couldn’t remove the passengers and their dogs from the flight.
According to Bill Dumas, another passenger on board who shot video of the incident, the woman didn’t want to deplane because she had to attend a medical procedure that her father was having in the Los Angeles area. The crew determined that if she did indeed have a severe allergic reaction onboard, the flight would have to divert in order to get the passenger medical attention — a risk they didn’t want to take. Southwest’s 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.”
When the pilot and crew asked her to remove herself from the flight, things went south. The passenger became defiant and refused to get off the plane. Local law enforcement agents were then called to the flight and were recorded dragging the woman off the plane, all while she was resisting both physically and verbally. She can be heard screaming, “Don’t touch me!” and “I’m walking!” as the police officers drag her through the aisle to the front of the plane.
It’s hard to watch the video above without drawing parallels to a similar incident from this year when law enforcement dragged David Dao off a United flight. That incident turned into a nationwide story and remained a thorn in the airline’s side, prompting United CEO, Oscar Munoz, to introduce changes to its core policies concerning customer service. While Southwest Airlines issued a public apology, in which it reaffirmed its commitment to customer service, they also filed charged against the passenger, according to an update today in The Los Angeles Times.
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