A BLACK man is suing American Airlines after he claims he was kicked off his first-class flight in favour of a customer’s DOG.
Dana Holcomb, 53, is suing American Airlines for racial discrimination following the incident on a flight from Las Vegas to Austin, Texas in April.
Dana had been celebrating his birthday in Vegas and treated himself to a first-class ticket home – which featured a connecting flight in Phoenix, Arizona.
But when he boarded the flight, Dana who is allergic to dogs, realised he had been seated next to a woman who was travelling with a service dog.
Within ten minutes of boarding the plane, he says his allergies had flared up and was suffering a full-blown allergic reaction.
The dog’s owner offered to switch seats so that Dana could fly safely – but other first-class customers refused to swap.
The pilot then approached the birthday-boy and gave him the ultimatum of either travelling at the rear of the plane in economy – or getting off the flight.
However, when Dana – who had paid for a first class ticket – refused, the pilot became “irate” and began to point in his face.
A 40 minute exchange ensued, by which time another first class passenger had agreed to swap seats with Dana so he could sit away from the dog.
‘LESS THAN A DOG’
But despite the offer, the pilot called security to escort Dana from the plane.
American Airlines claims the 53-year-old became “confrontational,” but lawyers say two passengers on board have made sworn statements refuting this.
One witness also claims to have heard the white pilot refer to Dana as a “danger.”
To add insult to injury – once escorted off the plane Dana says he was left “stranded” in Phoenix without his medication, which had been left on board.
He said: “They left my medication. They didn’t even have the time, or took the time, to take my bags off the plane.”
American Airlines has stated: “Federal regulations require American Airlines to transport service and support animals….In the case of an allergy, we work to re-seat the passenger further away from the service or support animal.”
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But Dana says the whole ordeal made him feel “less than a dog.”
“What American Airlines is doing is discrimination.
“They have repeatedly humiliated African American citizens by throwing them off the plane, leaving them with no way home, no hotel, just throwing them off the plane,” he added.
Dana claims the pilot became irate and began to point in his face[/caption]
He has claimed American Airlines have previously had similar attitudes towards black customers[/caption]
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