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Southwest Airlines has apologized to a 46-year-old college professor who was forcibly removed from a plane by law enforcement, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In a video filmed by fellow passenger Bill Dumas, Anila Daulatzai can be seen physically struggling with police as they try to deplane her from a flight in Baltimore heading to Los Angeles on Tuesday. Throughout the video, Daulatzai can be heard telling police they ripped her pants in an attempt to escort her off the plane.
“We are disheartened by the way this situation unfolded and the Customer’s removal by local law enforcement officers,” a Southwest spokesman 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.”
Southwest Airlines also said Daulatzai had been asked to get off the plane after she reported she had a “life-threatening pet allergy” and asked that the two pets—including an emotional support animal—on the flight be removed. Southwest said it is company policy for passengers who report allergies to present a medical certificate to stay on the plane.
Upon exiting the plane, Daulatzai was taken into custody and 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 Lt. Kevin Ayd of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police. She was later released.
Some video viewers on Twitter said the removal of Daulatzai shows that Southwest Airlines values pets over people.
#SouthwestAirlines , shame on you for not protecting woman with dog allergy. Allergy attacks are fast acting & very dangerous .— Vanessa (@vanessa3399) September 27, 2017
#SouthwestAirlines, since when does someone have to carry proof that they are allergic to dogs! Get rid of the dog!— Teri Ross (@tlyneenr) September 27, 2017
Other viewers, however, said Daulatzai should have carried proof of her allergy.
I don't think #SouthwestAirlines should apologize. She was resisting and didn't have the medical certificate.— D.J. (@SeanVanDerLove) September 28, 2017
#SouthwestAirlines If a person has a lief-threatening allergy, then she should have medication with her proving it. I have asthma and do.— PamW (@pwtn2017) September 27, 2017
Life-threatening pet allergy & couldn't show a medical certificate! Takeaway: If you have a life-threatening pet allergy, you should have a doctors note, and when you are making reservations TELL THEM: #SouthwestAirlines is a great airline. https://t.co/wMHOomerye— ⚖ MAGA TV✍️ (@MagaMediaUSA) September 27, 2017
Passenger scuffles with airlines are nothing new in 2017. April, United Airlines received widespread backlash after a doctor was injured by law enforcement when he refused to deplane an overbooked flight.
Tess Cagle is a reporter who focuses on politics, lifestyle, and streaming entertainment. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman, Damn Joan, and Community Impact Newspaper. She’s also a portrait, events, and live music photographer in Central Texas.