American Airlines flight attendants applauded when I was thrown off flight, says first class passenger

And all because, she says, she didn't want to sit next to a dog.

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

Airlines are nice to people up front for a very human reason.

They make the most money out of people up front.

You'd imagine, then, that they'll do anything to please those First Class members.

This isn't quite the case. Remember the man who says he was kicked out of First Class in order to accommodate another First Class passenger of even higher status? Yes, that was on United.

Now American is accused of behaving even more coldly to a First Class passenger.

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Airline horror stories

United Bans Leggings
Two passengers were denied boarding because they were wearing leggings in March. According to United, the airline had a right to deny boarding based on dress code because the girls were using “buddy passes” and were, therefore, representing the airline when they fly, similar to employees.

Photo Credit: Getty 

David Dao
Definitely not an employee, David Dao was forcibly removed from a United flight in April after he refused to give up his seat on an "overbooked flight," resulting in a serious concussion, a broken nose, and two lost teeth. Video of the incident went viral, causing United to change their policy and get slapped with a lawsuit that was quickly settled.

Photo Credit: Youtube

Giant Rabbit Dies
United also faced another controversy when a giant rabbit being transported on one of its planes died in the cargo during a flight. According to The Sun newspaper, the animal, named Simon, was the son of the world’s largest rabbit -- a four-foot long continental rabbit called Darius --and was expected to have grown larger than his father.

“Something very strange has happened and I want to know what. I’ve sent rabbits all around the world and nothing like this has happened before," said owner Annette Edwards.

Photo Credit: Twitter 

Bride and Groom Booted From Flight 
A bride and groom traveling to Costa Rica for their wedding in April were escorted off a United Airlines flight after they noticed a man sleeping in their seats and decided to move up three rows as to not wake the passenger. However, it was an "Economy Plus" seat and although the passengers said they complied to return to the seats, a U.S. Marshal removed them.

Photo Credit: Getty 

Altercation Between American Airlines and Mother
American Airlines suspended a flight attendant while investigating a scuffle between him, a mom and two babies. In a viral video, a woman is seen hysterically crying while holding a toddler, with a male flight attending yanking away the stroller for her second child.g a scuffle between him, a mom and two babies. In a viral video, a woman is seen hysterically crying while holding a toddler, with a male flight attending yanking away the stroller for her second child.

Photo Credit: Youtube

Delta Removes Passenger After He Used the Bathroom
At the end of April, a man was removed from a Delta flight after he used the bathroom while the plane awaited takeoff on the tarmac. 

Photo Credit: Getty 

Delta Worker Threatens Passengers With Jail Time
Early May, a Southern California family said they were kicked off an overbooked Delta flight because they refused to give up a seat they had bought for their young son sitting in a car seat. They were asked to have their son sit on their lap for the duration of the flight. They refused, saying they paid for the seat, to which the airline staff threatened the family with jail time.

Photo Credit: Getty 

Spirit Airlines Riot
In May, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport descended into total chaos after nine Spirit Airlines flights were canceled, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded and increasingly irate in the terminal. The cancellations were the result of a legal dispute between the budget airline and the Air Line Pilots Association International. 

 Courtesy of Jary Romero/Handout via REUTERS

Teen Trapped in Airport Alone Overnight
According to CBC News, a 15-year-old boy was "trapped" overnight in an airport alone when Air Canada rebooked him on another flight after he missed his original one. However, the flight was almost 24 hours later and the airline did not offer him any accommodation or vouchers for food. Because he is a minor, he could not get a hotel room, he says.

(Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Passenger Forced to Pee in a Cup
Also in May, a passenger claimed she was forced to pee in a cup aboard a United flight after flight attendants told her she wasn’t allowed to use the lavatory until the pilot had turned off the fasten seatbelt sign.

The woman, who had an overactive bladder, was told the flight attendant would be filing a report about the incident.

Photo Credit: Getty 


As Gary Leff reports on his View From The Wing column, a regular First Class passenger was seated close to a big dog.

She says that the pooch quickly "tried to jump on" her. I'm not partial to any passenger trying to jump on me. I certainly wouldn't like it if it was a dog.

Worse for this woman is that she claims to be allergic to dogs. She says she was offered another seat in First Class.

Oddly, this seat was also next to a dog.

What was it about this Miami to LA flight? Were the passengers headed to some canine convention?

Here, however, is where we come to the sticky part of this woman's story.

"I said to a [..flight attendant] that I hope we don't need to make an unplanned stop to which she replied 'we don't want that to happen' I replied that I didn't want that to happen either. I returned to my seat and did my best to shield myself from the dog," she said on Leff's Facebook page.

Perhaps this wasn't the wisest thing to say on her part.

You might see this as akin to telling a bomb joke to a member of the TSA. People in uniforms tend to be humor-free, especially in the US.

Too many flight attendants, no doubt inspired by company policy, tend to act in both paranoid and draconian ways these days.

And so it was that a gate agent arrived and asked her to leave the plane.

"I thought he was joking but when I realized that he wasn't, I complied as I know the FAA rules concerning crew member compliance," she told Leff.

It's what the woman says happened next, though, that some might find troubling.

"As I disembarked, a few of the [flight attendants] were applauding and cheering because I was being removed," she said.

Ah. Oh. Was this entirely necessary? Even if the cabin crew had taken an immense dislike toward this customer, did they have to show it?

Or is the woman's account a touch exaggerated here?

I contacted American to ask for its view and will update, should the airline assign me a reply.

The woman says that even though there were two more flights that day, she didn't manage to get away till the next day. She says American offered her no compensation.

As always, there's likely to be more to this tale. I wonder, however, why, if the dog really did jump on her, its owner wasn't asked to disembark first.

One can always understand the presence of service dogs. I've never seen one less than well-behaved. There is, though, an increasing tendency for passengers to bring on so-called therapeutic dogs, there to offer some form of unspecified emotional support.

These can occasionally seem less than truly therapeutic for those around them and, indeed, can grate on people's emotions. This may, at times, be that their owners claim these are emotionally supportive dogs, but the truth is that they're just household pets.

The gray area, of course, lies in how much effort the Flight Attendants made in order to help this woman out. Or did they quickly decide that she was one of those passengers and acted accordingly?

Many First Class passengers travel alone on business. Was there really no way of shuffling the seating around in order to make everyone happy? Surely the dog owner would be no more happy to have their pooch next to someone who didn't want to be near a dog.

Why not, in fact, put the two dogs next to each other?

Oh, what am I saying? Patience doesn't seem to be paramount on airlines these days.

Who can forget the video of a Flight Attendant challenging a passenger to a fight? Which airline was that again? American.

Of course, perhaps the most surprising thing here is that the woman didn't take cellphone video in order to prove her case.

That's de rigueur on airlines these days. Even in First Class.

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