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Southwest Apologizes for Police Removal of Passenger

(NBC News)

By    |   Wednesday, 27 Sep 2017 05:11 PM

Southwest is apologizing to a woman who was recorded being pulled off a plane by police after telling crew members she had a life-threatening pet allergy.

A Southwest Airlines spokesman said Wednesday the woman could not show a medical certificate she needed to make the Tuesday flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles, on which there two dogs aboard.

Spokesman Chris Mainz said crew members told the woman she could be barred from the flight if she could not travel safely with animals on board, but she refused to leave – and police were called.

Once law enforcement boarded, passenger Bill Dumas began filming, NBC News reported.

Officers are seen moving the woman down the aisle and she can be heard pleading with them to let her stay.

"My dad has surgery tomorrow; I'm sorry, my dad has a surgery. What are you doing?" she is heard asking.

"C'mon, lady; let's go," an officer responds.

The scuffle pauses briefly as the woman accuses the officers of ripping her pants. They tell her to fix her pants and leave the plane, but when she seems to hesitate, an officer wraps his arms around the woman's chest and begins to drag her down the aisle.

"Don't touch me! I'm walking," she's heard screaming.

"She like kept saying she was pregnant, and then I heard her say her father had surgery, and then she said she was a professor and she needed to be in L.A," passenger Julia Rockett, 20, told NBC News.

"She was kind of yelling random things, and she knew people were recording."

The woman was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, disturbing the peace, obstructing and hindering a police officer, and resisting arrest, NBC News reported. She was released on her own recognizance, NBC News reported.

"We are disheartened by the way this situation unfolded and the customer's removal by local law enforcement officers," Southwest Airlines said in a statement, NBC News reported.

"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."

The filmed fracas was reminiscent of another viral video last April, when United was widely condemned after security officers in Chicago dragged a 69-year-old man off an overbooked United Express flight to make room for crew members flying to their next flight.

United CEO Oscar Munoz was excoriated for initially blaming the passenger, who lost teeth and suffered a concussion. United reached a settlement with the passenger for undisclosed terms.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Southwest is apologizing to a woman who was recorded being pulled off a plane by police after telling crew members she had a life-threatening pet allergy.
southwest, airlines, unruly passenger, police
Wednesday, 27 Sep 2017 05:11 PM
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