Police drag woman off Southwest Airlines flight
BALTIMORE (AP) — Police officers physically removed a woman from a Southwest Airlines plane before it took off from Baltimore, the latest passenger scuffle to be captured on video and magnified on social media.
After saying she was severely allergic to animals — there were two dogs on board — the woman refused the crew’s request to leave the plane. The crew then called on police to intervene.
A film producer recorded the ensuing struggle between the woman and officers and posted it online. The scene from Tuesday night was reminiscent of an April incident in which security officers yanked a man out of his seat and dragged him off a United Express flight in Chicago, sparking a public outcry about shoddy treatment of airline passengers.
Southwest, perhaps learning from United’s initial hesitant reaction, immediately apologized. “We are disheartened by the way this situation unfolded and the customer’s removal by local law enforcement officers,” Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said Wednesday.
Mainz said the woman had reported she had a life-threatening pet allergy but couldn’t show a medical certificate that she needed to continue on the flight to Los Angeles.
The incident began quietly near the back of the plane, passengers said, as Southwest employees — including one of the pilots — talked to the woman. Mainz said the airline offered to rebook her on a flight the next day, but she declined — hers was the last flight of the night.
Airline employees ended up calling police, and the officers asked her to leave.