Two sisters, on their way to visit their dying father, were reportedly kicked off of an Allegiant Air flight, and lost the opportunity to say goodbye to him.
Debbie Hartman and Trisha Baker were set to fly from Orlando to North Carolina on Jan. 2. As the plane was preparing to take off, Baker received a text message telling her that their father, who was in hospice care in North Carolina, would pass away in a few hours, Daily Mail reports.
Baker rose from her seat to console her sister. She explained, "I didn't know if my sister was getting the same text and was thinking I need to go back and tell her." As she went to Hartman's seat and sat down next to her, a flight attended told Baker that she needed to return to her seat.
"She 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,'" Baker said.
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Hartman then reportedly experienced a panic attack, and Baker told the flight attendant that she was being insensitive.
"She said, 'You're being very rude. My father is dying and I'm comforting her,' and they said she needed to keep her personal problems off the plane," said Hartman.
The flight attendant then told the captain what had happened, and he turned the plane around. The sisters were walked off of the plane by security, and they say that they missed their last chance to see their father before his death.
Hartman says that she blames the airline for the incident, and for missing her opportunity to say farewell to her father before he passed.
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"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," she said.
Another passenger who was on the plane during the incident made a video calling the airline's behavior "inhumane" and "deplorable."
Allegiant Air said that it is conducting an investigation into the incident, according to the NY Daily News.
"We expect that authority to be exercised both judiciously and consistently, with empathy and with good judgment," said the airline in a statement. "We take this customer feedback seriously and are in the process of conducting an investigation into what occurred."