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Southwest Airlines Kicks Pet Owner Off of Flight, Clip Goes Viral

A major commercial airline company made waves online recently after deboarding a scared puppy named Sitka and her pet parent. When the incident occurred, the plane was in the process of departing from Colorado Springs, Colorado. A seatmate recorded the whole thing, posting the videos to TikTok. The clips went viral, spreading the story of a woman named Susan who was flying with her new pup. Southwest Airlines moved to kick the passenger off the plane after she comforted her dog while the flight was taxiing the runway. What’s more, is that passengers who stepped in to support the woman were also de-planed.

Southwest Airlines term pet owner “disruptive”

Sara Price (@_sara_price_) took to TikTok to share a series of clips of the incident on Saturday, Oct. 21. One video shows a woman gathering her belongings after being asked to leave the flight. According to the posts, Southwest Airlines kicked the woman off the flight for petting her puppy.


Met this lady in the boarding line today @Southwest Airlines She flew out to Colorado Springs to pick up her new little puppy and fly her back home to CA. The puppy was whining a little and the flight attendant boarding everyone walked up to her and said, if your dogs doesn’t be quiet, you may not be able to fly. She sticks her hand in the soft carrier and pets the puppy. It stopped whining. We board the plane and she has the carrier in her lap still petting the puppy when the same flight attendant came up and said the carrier needed to be zipped completely and put under the seat. Everyone around us was like, what’s going on here!? Another flight attendant, dressed as a cat comes up and says “are we going to have a problem here!?” The lady does as she is told and we start to taxi to the runway. The dog gave a very soft whine, so she leaned over and started petting it from the outside of the carrier but right at mesh. All the attendants got in a group at the front of the plane and decided we needed to return to the gate and that she should be removed from the flight. #southwestairlines #southwest #southwestair

♬ original sound – Sara Price

Price’s caption read that the seemingly distressed canine was whining. The Southwest Airlines flight attendant told Susan that she may not be able to fly if Sitka didn’t settle down. Given that declaration, the woman reached into the dog carrier that was placed on her lap. Her intent was to calm the puppy down by soothing the understandably frightened canine.

The flight attendant informed the passenger that the carrier needed to be placed under the seat. Susan complied; however, Sitka started whining again. As per Price’s post, the pet parent then leaned over and began petting the pup. However, this time, Susan did so from outside the carrier, “but right at mesh.” The Southwest Airlines crew gathered at the front of the plane and decided that the woman should deboard.

Southwest Airlines said in a statement, via The Messenger, that they were aware of the video being circulated. According to their initial reports from cabin staff, the customer was seemingly unwilling to keep the animal carrier shut. Southwest has a policy that passengers with pets are expected to abstain from opening kennels while on flights. The airline made clear that they support their employees. Furthermore, they noted that the decision was made to “deplane the disruptive passenger” as she “repeatedly refused to comply with our Crew’s instructions.”

Passengers who showed support for Susan and Sitka were also kicked off flight

Susan and her new pooch weren’t the only passengers removed from the plane. In one of the clips on TikTok, Sara Price tried getting the names of the flight attendants as she and her husband Marshall were also kicked off the plane. Marshall was heard telling Southwest employee Tyler McTaggart that the man should be ashamed of himself. While the cabin crew was forcing Susan to leave, Marshall can be heard on video calling the situation “ridiculous.” In disbelief, he went on to say, “It’s not like you even had the dog out — you were petting it,” as per Insider.

The three passengers and the tiny pup eventually reached out to different airlines to find their way back home, landing with United Airlines.

Price later reached out to Southwest Airlines, messaging them about the incident. She alleged that McTaggart had her and Marshall removed for making their opinions known about Susan and Sitka being kicked off. While in conversation with a representative of Southwest, Price claimed that some of the other passengers refused to fly in protest.

The Southwest representative apologized to her and started a refund on the couple’s tickets. However, the same cannot be said for Susan. The woman told the TikToker via text messages that she didn’t receive a refund for the cost of bringing a pet carrier onboard.

In a shocking twist, research from Insider revealed that “no restrictions against petting your pets are mentioned” on Southwest Airlines’s website under their section on pet policies.

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