(AP) — Southwest is apologizing to a woman who was physically removed from a plane by police officers in the latest airline video to go viral.
A Southwest Airlines spokesman said Wednesday that the woman said she had a life-threatening pet allergy but couldn’t show a medical certificate she needed to make the flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles. There were two dogs on the plane Tuesday.
Spokesman Chris Mainz said crew members told the woman that she could be barred from the flight if she couldn’t travel safely with animals on board, but she refused to leave the plane, and the airline called police.
The incident was captured on video by other passengers and was reminiscent of a dragging earlier this year on a United Express flight that sparked a public outcry.
“What are you doing?” the woman asked two police officers who had grabbed her on the Southwest plane, one from in front and the other from behind.
“I will walk off. Don’t touch me!” she yelled.
“All right, let’s walk. Let’s walk,” one of the officers answered.
Other passengers chimed in, one telling the woman to file a complaint, another urging her to show that she was walking off the plane. Police pushed and pulled her from the back of the plane to an exit near the front.
Mainz said Southwest was publicly apologizing to the woman and would contact her.
“We are disheartened by the way this situation unfolded and the customer’s removal by local law enforcement officers,” he said.
The airline declined to give the passenger’s name, but she can be heard on camera identifying herself as a professor.
In April, 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.
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