KILLEEN, TEXAS: A man has filed a lawsuit against American Airlines after claiming that he was kicked off a flight so that a dog could fly first class. 53-year-old Dana Holcomb is suing the airline company on the grounds of racial discrimination post the incident which took place on a flight from Las Vegas to Austin, Texas in April.
According to Holcomb, he had bought himself a first-class ticket after celebrating his birthday in Las Vegas. He had a connecting flight from Phoenix, Arizona. After boarding the flight, he saw that he was seated next to a woman who was traveling with a support dog which was a problem as he is allergic to dogs. As reported by KWTX, Holcomb started to suffer from an allergic reaction almost immediately after boarding the plane.
The woman offered to switch seats with a few others in the first-class section but no one would agree. This is when the pilot and a flight attendant got involved in the situation. As per Holcomb’s lawyer, Reginald McKamie, he was told to either go to the back of the plane or get off the plane. “Dana was taken off an airplane so a dog could fly first-class cabin,” McKamie was quoted as saying.
He added that the pilot seemed to be very irritated. Another passenger eventually offered to switch seats, but the pilot instead called security. The American Airlines security proceeded to remove Holcomb from the plane but left his baggage on board, leaving him stranded in Phoenix.
“They left my medication. They didn’t even have the time, or took the time, to take my bags off the plane,” Holcomb revealed. Since the incident, American Airlines has issued a statement saying that Holcomb had become “confrontational” which led to him being taken off the plane. These claims were refuted by witnesses onboard the aircraft. According to the lawsuit, two passengers have made sworn statements supporting Holcomb’s story.
As reported by Newsweek, passenger Jay Youngdahl heard the pilot say that Holcomb was likely to be a “danger”. Holcomb shared, “To be honest, it made me feel less than a dog.” He is now seeking damages and is hoping that he will change the discrimination policies on American Airlines.