BALTIMORE, Maryland -- A Southwest Airlines passenger who said she had a life-threatening pet allergy was physically removed from a Los Angeles bound plane prior to taking off in Baltimore Tuesday.
Passengers were already aboard flight 1525 when the pilot and several Baltimore transportation officers went to the back of the plane to speak with a woman who was having a problem, said Bill Dumas, who captured the incident on video.
There were two dogs on the plane and the woman had asked that they be removed because she had a deadly allergy, Dumas said.
Southwest Airlines stated one of the dogs was an “emotional support” animal and the other was a pet.
When the passenger was informed they could not remove the paying passengers or dogs due to Southwest’s policy, Dumas said the woman wanted to stay on the flight but crew members were concerned they would need to divert the flight if she had a reaction.
In a statement, Southwest said that any passenger may be denied boarding if they report a life-threatening allergic reaction and cannot travel safely with an animal onboard. The passenger was unable at that point to provide a medical certificate necessary to complete travel, the airline stated.
The woman was then asked to leave the plane but refused.
“Everything was very quiet up until a decision was made that this woman would have to be physically removed from the plane,” Dumas said. “She just put up a lot of resistance and was adamant about not being taken off the plane.”
In their statement, Southwest apologized to the woman who had to be removed.
“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,” Southwest’s statement read.
Dumas said other passengers remained calm during the ordeal and he felt the Southwest crew handled the situation correctly.
“It was a no-win situation for sure,” Dumas said.