Woman with life-threatening pet allergy evicted from Southwest Airlines flight

A woman was forcibly removed from a Southwest Airlines flight by police because she said that she had a life-threatening pet allergy and there were two dogs on board. It made me immediately think about people who have a strong allergy to cats. Unless they have a medical certificate they may be denied boarding if they report that they have a life-threatening allergic reaction to pets including cats. These sorts of strong allergies to cats are described as ‘anaphylactic cat allergies’.

Woman evicted from flight because allergic to pets
Woman being evicted.
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In this particular instance the woman stated that she had a pet allergy but couldn’t provide documentation that she can fly safely. She had managed to board the plane which must have been a mistake because it led to her eviction which is something an airline does not want to get involved with because of the public relations consequences.

The whole event was videoed by a fellow passenger, Bill Dumas. His video shows police officers grabbing the woman’s arms and holding her by her chest and then pushing down the aisle of the plane (see screenshot from CBS News). This was deemed to be necessary because crew members had asked the woman to exit the plane several times before asking law enforcement to step in and remove her.

Southwest are sorry about the whole incident and will contact her to address her concerns. This is a bizarre incident but I would have thought that the airline is at fault primarily because they let her board the plane when they shouldn’t have.

“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.”

Source: MSN News

7 thoughts on “Woman with life-threatening pet allergy evicted from Southwest Airlines flight”

  1. My son was allergic to dogs. He was in a situation that he was eating and a puppy licked him. He had a asthma attack and anaphylactic reaction resulting in a heart attack that killed him.

  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/27/travel/allergic-to-dogs-on-a-flight-what-travelers-need-to-know.html?mcubz=0

    This is a good and unbiased read on airline procedures and real life. And here’s my perspective from being on numerous flights. Dogs and cats belong in a carrier 100% of the time and real service dogs belong at their owners feet.
    Airline cabins are not meant to accommodate pets. There is little if anywhere to put a large service dog that isn’t in the way of foot traffic.
    Airline staff need to enforce the carrier rule. I was forced to put my ID pouch in the overhead during takeoff and then again during some turbulence. Reason is it could harm me or become a flying Chinese star I guess. Dogs on laps bad idea.
    If your allergies are life threatening not having a dog or cat on board does not mean you are safe. You are in an enclosed pressurized can. If there is cat or dog dander you’re going to have a reaction regardless if the animal is there now or on the previous flight.
    I have pet owners ,especially dog owners try and foist their dogs on me to ‘see’ on a regular basis. I don’t care for dogs period and avoid them whenever possible. All airlines have accommodated me on this and I’ve never been dragged out. Hmmmmm. Lots of people want to sit next to the dog.
    I have one lovely woman tell me she hated pets on flights and was horribly allergic to cats. I’m sure I had cat dander all over me plus the kitty in the carrier under the seat she never noticed. Making up a medical condition to cover a dislike will not work.
    One last thing. If airlines are going to allow large SD and ESA on planes they need to make accommodations for them. Reality is that if the dog can’t fit under the seat and the owners feed a seat needs to be assigned for the dog.

  3. This is interesting because it was a pro-animal/pro-animal owner decision by the airline. We can all remember when animals weren’t allowed in airline cabins at all. I had to read the headline twice before grasping it completely –expected an anti-animal outcome. The groups and individuals who so successfully lobbied for airplane access for pets have done a really good job.

  4. If I had an animal allergy, especially “life threatening”, I would ask the airlines if an animal would be in the passenger cabin before I boarded, and ask for another flight. I don’t know what the proceedure is for this. It also makes me think about peanut and other nut allergies, since they can be triggered just by being near them. I wonder how this is handled. The flight attendants may have EpiPens on hand.

    • On reflection this woman may have a personality disorder. I am guessing and I don’t want to denigrate or insult her but it looks very odd.


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