Passengers applaud as boy having allergic reaction is removed from plane

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. — A 7-year-old boy suffering an allergic reaction was removed from an Allegiant Airlines flight on Monday while passengers applauded, according to the boy’s mother.

Christina Fabian-Roman told KTAR her family was flying from Bellingham, Washington to Phoenix when the flight was delayed. She was traveling with her 7-year-old son and her husband, who has terminal cancer and was traveling to Phoenix to visit family.

According to Fabian, while they were waiting on the plane to leave, her son had an allergic reaction to a dog on the plane. She said this was the first time this has happened.

“He began to get very itchy and he was scratching all over. He started to get hives, so we informed the flight attendant who informed us that there are dogs on every flight and just smirked, which minimized his experience for me,” Fabian told KING-TV.

The family was moved to different seats, but airport medical services determined it was unsafe for the child to fly and the family was asked to deplane. That’s when, according to Fabian, the passengers on the plane started to applaud.

“When we stood up and walked to the front of the plane, the (people) in the back of the plane applauded,” Fabian-Roman told KTAR.

Fabian shared the story on Facebook, where she wrote her 7-year-old boy was crushed by the entire experience:

“What crushed us was that our 7 yr old boy looked at us with tear filled eyes and said, “I’m sorry that I put you through this. This is all my fault” then he proceeded to say, “I can’t believe that people clapped. They shouldn’t do that because they never know who already has sadness in their hearts.”

The airline put the family on the next available flight to Phoenix, which was on Wednesday. Fabian said she doesn’t blame the airline for making the family get off the plane, but she said some things the flight attendant said made the situation worse.

“It wasn’t the flight attendant’s fault we got off the plane,” Fabian told KTAR. “It was the flight attendant’s attitude that perpetuated people’s agitated behavior around us. It’s just the comments she had made.”

In the Facebook post, Fabian wrote:

“To the old lady flight attendant w/ short curly brown hair, you should have NEVER hastily smirked and made the comment that dogs are on every flight! Your comments are untruthful and unwarranted. We frequently fly and we have been on several flights with no animals and he has never had this type of reaction on any of the other flights that we have been on. Instead of diffusing the situation you added insult to injury and perpetuated the attitudes of the other passengers.”

Fabian said her family is not seeking compensation from the airline. Instead, she hopes her story is a reminder that everyone should be treated with compassion.

In a statement to KTAR, Allegiant Airlines said they apologized to the family and “forwarded the family’s feedback on to the appropriate teams within the company to ensure any necessary service improvements will be made.”

7 comments

  • Anotherbob

    I’ll wait to judge the clapping passengers until the other side of the story is told, I have a hunch the mother threw a fit and it was her they were clapping at, not the boy.

  • Kristy

    This is so sad. I have family members who are very allergic to dogs. We love dogs. But when is a dog more important than a person? Especially a 7 year old. And then the ADULTS on the plane applaud? HE IS A CHILD! So what if the mom threw a fit. This little boy didn’t understand why everyone was so happy he had to leave the plane. And I know so many people who lie and abuse the whole SERVICE DOG thing. The airlines don’t even check documents to see if they really are service dogs. I had a guy sit next to me once with a dog and said his girlfriends mom, who was a physiatrist, wrote him papers for a service dog because he didn’t want to put the dog in cargo!!! The airlines need to designate certain flights as ‘pet friendly’ and let the rest of us fly in peace.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      @Kristy:
      Are you suggesting that they should have thrown the passenger with the dog off the flight? Did the mother notify the airline that she had a child with special allergies? The responsibility for a child with special requirements rests on the shoulders of the parents. People with service dogs have legal ADA rights Kristy!!

      • Kristy

        So now everyone with pet allergies, (which is fairly common) need to see if there will be a dog on a plane? We asked once, and the lady at the counter said she had no idea, and wouldn’t know until passengers boarded. There needs to be a happy medium here. And people do abuse the system. I gave you one example that happened to me? We all have rights. Whose to say which is more important and who holds the burden here? Can’t you see it both ways? What if you had a child with allergies? Now the burden is on the rest of us. I don’t think it’s fair. I know service dogs do a great service for those in need. But there needs to be some middle ground here.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        There is no indication whatsoever that this mother asked if anyone with a dog would be on the plane. People with mental handicaps have rights to Kristy. You’d kick one handicaped person of the plane for so another could fly?
        You can’t solve all the problems of all the people all the time.
        There is more to this story than we are being told.

      • mr. ed

        The story clearly states the boy had never had a reaction to dogs before thus why the family would not have been concerned. The issue is that they were treated poorly by the attendant. A little more compassion people. This could of had a much better outcome. Also allergies can be deadly and reactions should be taken seriously.

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