Last month, the video of a woman being de-planed from a Southwest flight went viral. But it was discrimination – not allergies – that were behind her removal, she says.
A video clip of a passenger being manhandled off of a Southwest Airlines flight in Baltimore last month is not necessarily what it seems, says the woman involved.
The carrier initially said that the woman, Anila Daulatzai, told crew that she had a severe pet allergy to the two dogs that were on the LA-bound flight, but failed to provide an official medical certificate verifying her condition. Passengers who neglect to provide this documentation can be deplaned, as per the carrier’s policy.
Daulatzai was then forcibly removed from the flight by local law enforcement officers, which is where the viral video begins. Daulatzai, who is a professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art, can be heard to be screaming at officers and is shown to be roughly pulled out of her seat and dragged down the aisle of the craft.
She was later arrested.
However, Daulatzai has come forward to give a different version of what happened on that flight. She says that she was dragged off of the plane because she is Muslim and, reports the Chicago Tribune, “a person of color.”
The legal team representing Daulatzai released a statement regarding her case on Wednesday, saying that she was, “profiled, abused, interrogated, detained, and subjected to false reporting and the trauma of racist, vitriolic public shaming precisely because she is a woman, a person of color, and a Muslim. She survived sexism, racial profiling, and police brutality that fateful day.”
Daulatzai had alerted crew members to her allergy and was seated away from the animals, but was still asked to disembark, her attorneys say.
The Maryland Transportation Authority Police has defended its actions in removing Daulatzai from the plane, saying that she was, “professionally removed from the aircraft within the guidelines of the MDTA Police.”
Speaking of the incident, Southwest has said that it has “publicly apologized to this customer for her experience and made several attempts to contact her directly to address her concerns.” It has also stated that it is “disheartened by the way this situation unfolded and the customer’s removal by local law enforcement officers.”