Ugh, here’s a sad story. We hear all of the time of people getting kicked off planes for a variety of reasons. Some of them are valid, some of them aren’t valid, and some of them are somewhere in the middle. For better or worse, flight attendants have virtually unlimited authority since 9/11. If they don’t feel “comfortable” with someone aboard, they can have them removed from the plane.
I support that concept in theory, because situations have a tendency to only escalate more once a plane is in the air. The problem is that it assumes all flight attendants are level headed, compassionate people, and sadly that’s not the case (a vast majority are, but like every industry, there are bad apples). Sometimes I can’t help but shake my head at what goes down, like this story.
Two sisters were flying Allegiant Air from Orlando, Florida, to Asheville, North Carolina, on Monday, to visit their father. Shortly before the plane left one sister received a text saying that the father had only hours left to live, and wanted to console her sister. They were understandably an emotional mess.
That’s where the story begins, per Click Orlando:
“I didn’t know if my sister was getting the same text and (I) was I thinking, ‘I need to go back and tell her,'” Baker said.
Baker said once she got up to tell her sister, a flight attendant stepped in.
“She said, ‘You need to sit down’ and I said, ‘Well, can I just sit here? I just want to console my sister. We just got word that my dad’s dying,'” Baker said.
Hartman said she started having a panic attack and the situation escalated after Baker confronted the flight attendant for not being compassionate.
“(My sister) said (to the flight attendant), ‘You’re being very rude. My father is dying, and I’m comforting her,’ and they said she needed to keep her personal problems off the plane,” Hartman said.
Minutes later, the sisters said the flight attendant called the captain, the plane turned around and airport security escorted them off the flight.
Allegiant Air released the following statement regarding the incident:
At Allegiant, we rely on our crew members to provide and oversee a safe environment for every passenger, on every flight. We expect that authority to be exercised both judiciously and consistently, with empathy and with good judgment. We take this customer feedback seriously and are in the process of conducting an investigation into what occurred.
Here’s a news segment interviewing the sisters:
And here’s a YouTube video made by one of the other passengers who witnessed it:
This is horrible. Even if one of the sisters was being rude in how she addressed the flight attendant, you’d think they’d have some compassion. This is very different than a drunk person throwing a fit and cussing everyone out. This lady was probably dealing with one of the most difficult things she’s had to deal with, and as humans we should have compassion for that.
If a flight attendant isn’t able to downplay a situation when someone is dealing with something like this, can we really expect them to calmly deal with an emergency?
This is a very sad situation, and I hope that Allegiant takes action, and shares what they do with us.
(Tip of the hat to Live and Let’s Fly)