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Video shows dog allergy woman hauled off flight

September 29, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

United suffered a wave of bad publicity when a doctor was dragged off one of its planes by security for refusing to give up his seat. Now a woman has been physically hauled off a Southwest Airlines flight after claiming she was severely allergic to two dogs on the plane.

“Emotional support animals” (sometimes known as pets, though there is a distinction) are allowed to travel on US flights.

A passenger aboard Southwest flight 1525 from Baltimore to Los Angeles on Tuesday told channel KTLA-TV that the woman concerned had asked for two dogs that had boarded the flight to be removed because of her allergy.

The woman wanted to stay on the plane, it seems, but was asked to leave over concerns she might suffer an allergy-related medical emergency mid-flight. An eyewitness said she refused to leave and Maryland Transportation Authority Police then boarded the plane, seized her arms and forced her down the aisle.

The woman could not produce the paperwork required to prove she was suffering from a pet allergy.

Footage of the incident shows the woman telling the police officers she will walk off the plane if they will let her go.

“I’m a professor, what are you doing to me?” she says as an officer yells: “Walk!”

Airlines in America are in a strange bind. Southwest says on its website that it cannot, by law, remove emotional-support animals from its flights.

The US Air Carrier Access Act states that animals may be brought aboard if they are deemed “necessary” to the emotional well-being of the owner. Fines for refusing to carry legitimate support animals can run as high as USD 150,000.

“Originally meant for those who could barely function without the support of an animal, it is now broadly used by people who enjoy the comfort of their pets,” a report in the New York Post stated.

Fortunately for airlines, spiders, scorpions and reptiles were outlawed as emotional support animals in 2008.

Passengers can be denied boarding if a life-threatening allergy prevents them from travelling safely with animals on the plane.

In the latest Southwest Airlines case, Dallas News reported that the airline apologised to the woman. It also issued a statement saying: “We are disheartened by the way this situation unfolded and the Customer’s removal by local law enforcement officers.”

Written by Peter Needham

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