United Airlines has received yet another consumer complaint, but this time it involves a cat.
Donna Wiegel claims the airline kicked her off of her flight because of an encounter she had with a cat.
“I was definitely thrown off the plane,” she said. “I had no option. I was perp-walked down that aisle!”
According to Wiegel, she had noticed a woman with a cat in the gate area and told the agent that she needed to be seated as far from the cat as possible due to allergies.
“I have a lot of respiratory problems and asthma,” she said. “And cats are a trigger that I have to avoid at all costs.”
But when Wiegel got on the plane, she claims the woman with the cat was only a few rows away from her seat.
“I said, ‘Oh, that is way too close,'” she recalled. A flight attendant then told her to switch seats with a passenger in the back of the airplane. But Wiegel was not satisfied with this solution.
“I still balked at that and said. ‘Why do I have to move? Why can’t the cat move?'” she said.
“We can’t move the cat,” Wiegel said she was told.
Wiegel said she was then confronted by three crew members who told her she had to get off the plane.
“They said, ‘You’ll have to come with us — the crew is not comfortable having you on the flight,” she recalled. “I’ve never been kicked off a plane, and I was just so stunned that this would happen to me.”
She said TSA agents were waiting for her when she got off the plane and was told the crew believed she could have a medical emergency if she stayed on the flight.
Wiegel had to take a flight out of Washington Dulles Airport, on which she finally arrived at her destination of Chicago five hours after the originally scheduled departure.
After filing a complaint online and receiving no response, Wiegel used her local news station to spread her story.
United Airlines eventually responded to NBC 5‘s request for comment:
“We’re disappointed any time a customer has an experience that doesn’t measure up to their expectations.
“We reached out to Ms. Wiegel today to apologize and find out more about what happened. We are working with our partner on this flight, GoJet Airlines, who operated this flight, to get more details.”
The airline has an “emotional support animal” policy which requires them to remove an allergic passenger as opposed to the animal. However, it is unclear if this is what happened in this case.
“The cat got to Chicago in plenty of time,” she said. “He could have gone out for dinner!”
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