The pregnant woman whom police dragged off a Southwest Airlines flight in late September claims that the airline’s account of how events transpired is inaccurate.
The passenger, Anila Daulatzai, said on “Good Morning America” on Thursday that she was a victim of racial profiling and that she never said she had a life-threatening allergy.
“In fact, I said the absolute opposite – I said it’s not life-threatening at all,” she said.
Daulatzai, who is a professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art, told “GMA” she was traveling to Los Angeles to see her elderly father who was about to have surgery. She said that when she boarded the plane, she asked the flight attendant how many dogs would be on the flight.
Southwest Airlines has said there were two dogs on the flight: one emotional-support animal and one pet.
Daulatzai said that because Southwest Airlines allows passengers to choose their seats, she sat away from the dogs because she has an allergy.
Daulatzai said that after she sat down, flight attendants and the captain continued to ask her about the allergy.
“He started by saying, ‘I’m uncomfortable with you on the plane,'” Daulatzai said. “I said: ‘I’m sorry. I’m a primary caretaker for my father. I need to be there, and I really ask you to reconsider.'”
- Good Morning America
Soon after, officers from the Maryland Transportation Authority Police came on the aircraft to escort her off, Daulatzai told “GMA.” The incident was filmed by a fellow passenger and shared online.
“I was calmly explaining that it’s not life-threatening, over and over again,” she told the show. “I even gave options that were just categorically rejected by the captain.
“So for me, it was clear, a lack of conflict-resolution skills with them,” she continued. “There’s something that they just didn’t trust me. I was a brown woman with a hoodie.”
Daulatzai was charged with disorderly conduct, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, disturbing the peace, obstructing and hindering the police officer, and resisting arrest.
Daulatzai claims she was subjected to racist and disparaging treatment by officers.
Daulatzai’s attorney, a civil-rights lawyer named Arjun Sethi, told “GMA” they planned to contest the charges and take legal action against Southwest Airlines.
“She is a professor. She is a researcher. She is a scholar. And we fear that when you Google her, the first thing that is going to come up are these criminal charges, which we plan to contest,” Sethi said.
Southwest Airlines said the incident, which took place September 26 on Flight 1525 from Baltimore to Los Angeles, started when Daulatzai told the flight crew she had a “life-threatening pet allergy.”
The airline said Daulatzai brought this to their attention because there was an emotional-support dog and a pet on the flight, and that for Daulatzai to remain on it, she would need to show a medical certificate.
“Our reports indicate the Customer stated that she had a life-threatening pet allergy, but she was unable to provide the medical certificate necessary to complete travel,” the airline said in a statement to Business Insider.
“Our policy states that a Customer (without a medical certificate) may be denied boarding if they report a life-threatening allergic reaction and cannot travel safely with an animal onboard,” the statement continued. “Our Flight Crew made repeated attempts to explain the situation to the Customer, however, she refused to deplane and law enforcement became involved.”
You can watch the “Good Morning America” segment below.
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