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article imageWoman claims she was thrown off United flight because of a cat

By Arthur Weinreb     Apr 28, 2017 in Travel
Another day, another airline story. A woman claims she was kicked off a United Airlines flight because she told an agent at the gate she had respiratory problems and needed to sit as far away as possible from a cat that was in the passenger cabin.
Donna Wiegel was scheduled to fly on a United Airlines flight from Baltimore to Chicago on Mar. 4. Wiegel suffers from asthma and other respiratory problems that can be triggered by cats. While she waited to board the flight, she noticed someone about to get on the plane with a cat. So Wiegel told an agent she had to sit far away from the cat because of her health problems.
After she sat down, she noticed the cat was just a few rows away, a distance she considered to be too close. So she informed a flight attendant about it and was told she could change seats with a passenger in the back of the plane. She initially hesitated telling the employee the cat should have to move. She was then told they could not move the cat.
So Wiegel did exchange seats with a passenger in the back of the aircraft. So far, so good. But then according to Wiegel,as soon as she was seated, three employees came up to her and told her she had to leave the plane. Wiegel described her leaving the plane as a “perp walk.”
After she left the plane, she was told by airline employees United was worried she might have a medical emergency during the flight. Wiegel said the stress of being thrown off the plane caused her to hyperventilate and she almost had a full blown asthma attack. The woman also claims her carry-on bag was damaged when it was forcibly removed from the overhead bin.
Yesterday, NBC 5 in Chicago contacted United Airlines for comment. United issued their common response that they are disappointed every time a customer’s experience doesn’t match expectations. The airline said they were reaching out to Wiegel to apologizeand are seeking more information as to what happened. United is contacting GoJet Airlines that operated the flight.
Perhaps the cat should have thought twice before flying United Airlines
According to the Department of Transport, United Airlines had the largest number of animal injuries and deaths of any American airline during 2016. United held that distinction for the second year in a row.
For every 10,000 animals flown on United planes, there were 2.1 incidents of death or injury in 2016. Delta Airlines came in second at 1.23 incidents per 10,000 animals transported.
Earlier this week, it was reported Simon, a giant three foot rabbit, died in the cargo hold of a United Airlines flight from London to Chicago. Had Simon lived, it was believed he would have grown to become the largest rabbit in the world. United CEO Oscar Munoz apologized for Simon’s death and that incident too is now under investigation.
Wiegel was driven from Baltimore to Washington’s Dulles Airport and took off for Chicago five hours after she was scheduled to leave from Baltimore. The cat arrived in Chicago on time.
More about Cats, Allergies, United airlines, giant rabbit, respiratory problems
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