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Black man sues airline after being forced off plane to make room for dog

Airplane landing on runway (Photo credit: / Sky Sajjaphot)

A Black man says he faced discrimination while flying American Airlines. Dana Holcomb paid for a first-class ticket from Las Vegas to Austin, Texas, after he celebrated his 53rd birthday, according to KWTX.

However, when Holcomb sat down, a person with an emotional support dog was seated next to him. Holcomb told the flight attendants that he was allergic to dogs and asked if the dog could be moved. Holcomb says that the flight crew told him to move to a seat toward the back of the plane.

He refused to move because he already paid to sit in first class. The woman who owned the dog agreed to exchange seats with a person sitting in the back of the plane, but crew members asked Holcomb to leave. The captain called security, and Holcomb was forcefully removed from the plane.

Holcomb was left in Las Vegas, where he missed his flight back to Austin. He recently held a press conference in Killeen, Texas, where he revealed that he was suing American Airlines for racial discrimination.

“What American Airlines is doing is discrimination,” he told reporters. “They have repeatedly humiliated African American citizens by throwing them off the plane, leaving them with no way home, no hotel, just throwing them off the plane.”

American Airlines responded to Holcomb by releasing a statement.

“Mr. Holcomb’s seat was next to a customer with an emotional support animal,” the statement read. “In an effort to accommodate Mr. Holcomb, the customer with the emotional support animal offered to switch seats with another customer 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. 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.”