A black man reportedly is suing American Airlines for discrimination after he was removed from first class over his allergy to a fellow passenger's support dog.
American Airlines confirmed on Tuesday that passenger Dana Holcomb was removed from a connecting flight from Phoenix to Austin, Texas, on April 14 after the crew made "all attempts to accommodate Mr. Holcomb."
Holcomb's attorney disagreed. "Dana was taken off an airplane so a dog could fly first-class cabin," Reginald McKamie Sr. said during a press conference Tuesday.
In a statement, American Airlines said: "In the case of an allergy, we work to re-seat a passenger further away from the service or support animal."
"The crew offered to move the customer with the support animal to another seat in the first class cabin so Mr. Holcomb could remain in his seat. Mr. Holcomb wasn't satisfied with that solution, so he was given the option of a seat further away from the service animal in the main cabin with a refund in the difference in fare, which he also declined," the airline said in a statement.
"After all the attempts to accommodate Mr. Holcomb were declined and he refused to comply with crew member instruction, he was removed from the plane. Our team offered to rebook Mr. Holcomb and refunded his first-class ticket," the statement added.
The airline said it had not received the lawsuit, and also pointed to the Department of Transportation Emotional Support Animal regulations, which read, "Airlines cannot refuse to allow your animal onboard because it makes other passengers or flight crew uncomfortable."
However, Holcomb said he wasn't confrontational and only asked why he had to move to the back of the plane after suffering an allergic reaction, according to KWTX.
"What American Airlines is doing is discrimination," McKamie added. "They have repeatedly humiliated African American citizens by throwing them off the plane, leaving them with no way home, leaving them with no hotels, just throwing them off the plane."