An Ohio couple attempting to return home after attending their daughter’s funeral in Florida was kicked off of an Allegiant Air flight because the mother had an oxygen tank with her due to a heart condition.
Mary Walker, who traveled to Sanford, Florida, with her husband to attend her daughter’s funeral, said she rented the tank as a precautionary measure because of a longstanding heart condition. A few days before the flight in question, Walker took the tank on the flight to Florida with no problems. On the flight back home to Columbus, however, crew removed the tank and forced the couple to exit the plane.
Cell phone video (shown below) posted online captured the moment that flight attendants informed Walker and her husband, James, that they would not be allowed to fly with the oxygen tank. James was heard off camera explaining to the attendants that they didn’t experience any issues on previous flights with the tank, but the attendants insisted that it was a matter of company policy.
“It’s like you’re a criminal or something like that,” Walker told WFTV. James Walker said the crew held up the entire flight to confront them about the tank.
“They’re literally holding up the whole dang plane. They come back and we have to depart the plane,” he told WFTV.
Allegiant Air released a statement in response to the incident, maintaining that safety policies did not allow for the couple to have the tank on board the flight.
“Oxygen concentrators are highly flammable,” the statement read. “These policies are designed to ensure, for everyone’s safety, than an oxygen concentrator has been recently inspected.” According to the airline, a physician’s consent form must be submitted in order to travel with an oxygen tank.
The Walkers were forced to spend a few more days in Sanford as a result of the incident, as the airline only flies to Columbus from Orlando Sanford International Airport on Thursdays and Sundays.
“It’s an inconvenience,” James Walker said, “and it’s costing me more money because of their stupidity.”
Photo Credit: wftv.com