The passenger said she had a life-threatening pet allergy before the plane took off from Baltimore on Tuesday, and there was one emotional support animal and one other pet onboard, according to a statement from Southwest. The woman did not show a medical certificate proving her allergy and was removed from the aircraft by local law enforcement, Southwest said.
“We are disheartened by the way this situation unfolded and the Customer’s removal by local law enforcement officers,” Southwest said in a statement on Wednesday. “We publicly offer our apologies to this Customer for her experience and we will be contacting her directly to address her concerns.”
The video, filmed by another passenger on the plane, shows law enforcement pushing, dragging and lifting the woman through the aisle as she asks, “What are you doing?” The woman claims the officers had ripped her pants, then says she will walk herself. “Then walk,” law enforcement yelled back at her. “Don’t touch me,” she responds repeatedly.
Southwest said airline policy “states that a Customer (without medical certificate) may be denied boarding if they report a life-threatening allergic reaction and cannot travel safely with an animal onboard.”
“Our Flight Crew made repeated attempts to explain the situation to the Customer, however, she refused to deplane and law enforcement became involved,” Southwest said.
This incident is hardly the first in which video captured a passenger being forcibly removed from an airline this year. A number of airlines have removed customers from their aircrafts this year, resulting in viral videos, with some sparking outrage. Most infamously, United Airlines came under fire in April after David Dao, a doctor from Louisville, Ky., was violently removed from a departing flight due to an overbooking issue.