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Passenger forcibly pulled off Southwest plane after complaining about pet allergy

  • The Southwest passenger said she had a life-threatening pet allergy but did not have a medical certificate on hand, according to a Southwest spokesman.
  • There was one emotional support animal and one pet onboard the flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles on Tuesday.
  • Police officers forced the passenger to disembark from the plane at the captain's request.
A Southwest Airlines jet takes off at Midway Airport in Chicago, Illinois.
Getty Images
A Southwest Airlines jet takes off at Midway Airport in Chicago, Illinois.

Cellphone video shows police officers pulling a woman off a Southwest flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles on Tuesday after she told the airline she had a life-threatening pet allergy when she learned there were animals on the plane.

There was one emotional support animal and one pet aboard the flight, according to Southwest. The passenger did not provide a medical certificate, which the airline would have required for her to continue on the flight, according to a Southwest spokesman.

NBC's Los Angeles affiliate has the full video.

The airline's policy says customers without a medical certificate may be denied boarding if they report a life-threatening allergic reaction and cannot travel safely with an animal on board, the spokesman said. The flight crew made "repeated attempts" to explain the situation to the passenger, and when she refused to exit the plane, local law enforcement became involved, according to the spokesman.

"We are disheartened by the way this situation unfolded and the Customer's removal by local law enforcement officers," the spokesman said, in a statement. "We publicly offer our apologies to this Customer for her experience and we will be contacting her directly to address her concerns."

The Maryland Transportation Authority Police got involved after the Southwest pilot asked for help.

"When the Maryland Transportation Authority Police receive a request from the Captain of a Southwest plane to remove a disorderly person, we respond accordingly," the transit police department said, in a statement.

The passenger was removed from the plane and then charged with disorderly conduct, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, disturbing the peace, obstructing and hindering a police officer, and resisting arrest, according to the police statement.

After processing, the passenger was transported to an Anne Arundel County Court Commissioner, where she was released, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority Police.

Earlier this year, United Airlines faced scrutiny after a video showed a passenger being dragged off an overbooked flight.

That incident led to a series of apologies and promises of change.

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