While in route to visit their dying father, two sisters were kicked off of an Allegiant Air flight after they were deemed a security risk.
Because the grieving pair were not allowed to continue on the flight, they were denied a chance to say a final goodbye to their dad, who passed away only hours later.
According to WKMG-TV, Debbie Hartman and her sister, Trisha Baker, were on their way to visit their ailing father who was in hospice care in North Carolina, when shortly after the plane took off, Baker received a text message saying that their father only had hours to live.
Baker, who was reportedly sitting across the aisle from her sister, reached over to touch Hartman on the shoulder to deliver the grave news. According to Baker, “She (the flight attendant) 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.'”
As the attendant confronted the sisters, Hartman began to have a panic attack. Baker responded to the attendant saying, “You’re being very rude. My father is dying and I’m comforting her.”
Hartman said that the attendant’s response to the situation was that “she needed to keep her personal problems off the plane.”
Moments later, the plane was turned around and returned to the terminal. Security then boarded the plane and escorted Baker and Hartman off of the flight. Passengers were shocked at how the airline staff treated the grieving women.
One passenger, who made a YouTube video to assert her disgust with the airline, said, “That was the most inhumane, deplorable thing I’ve ever seen any human being do.” She reportedly posted the video under the account name “Awakened Being.”
Hartman told reporters of the terrible encounter, “I would like to see them in some way be punished in a way where people understand. This is not humane. One hundred thousand percent I blame them. They were the gate between keeping me from my father to say goodbye.”
Allegiant Air is now conducting an investigation on the situation.
A spokesman for the airline said:
“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.”
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