Horrible: Allegiant Flight Attendant Power Trip Prevents Sisters From Seeing Dying Father

Filed Under: Media, Other Airlines

Ugh, here’s a sad story. We hear all of the time of people getting kicked off planes for a variety of reasons. Some of them are valid, some of them aren’t valid, andĀ some of them are somewhere in the middle. For better or worse, flight attendants have virtually unlimited authority since 9/11. If they don’t feel “comfortable” with someone aboard, they can have them removed from the plane.

I support that concept in theory, because situations have a tendency to only escalate more once a plane is in the air. The problem is that it assumes all flight attendants are level headed, compassionate people, and sadly that’s not the case (a vast majority are, but like every industry, there are bad apples). Sometimes I can’t help but shake my head at what goes down, like this story.

Two sisters were flying Allegiant Air from Orlando, Florida, to Asheville, North Carolina, on Monday, to visit their father. Shortly before the plane left one sister received a text saying that the father had only hours left to live, and wanted to console her sister. They were understandably an emotional mess.

That’s where the story begins, per Click Orlando:

“I didn’t know if my sister was getting the same text and (I) was I thinking, ‘I need to go back and tell her,'” Baker said.

Baker said once she got up to tell her sister, a flight attendant stepped in.

“She said, ‘You need to sit down’ and I said, ‘Well, can I just sit here? I just want to console my sister. We just got word that my dad’s dying,'” Baker said.

Hartman said she started having a panic attack and the situation escalated after Baker confronted the flight attendant for not being compassionate.

“(My sister) said (to the flight attendant), ‘You’re being very rude. My father is dying, and I’m comforting her,’ and they said she needed to keep her personal problems off the plane,” Hartman said.

Minutes later, the sisters said the flight attendant called the captain, the plane turned around and airport security escorted them off the flight.

Allegiant Air released the following statement regarding the incident:

At Allegiant, we rely on our crew members to provide and oversee a safe environment for every passenger, on every flight. We expect that authority to be exercised both judiciously and consistently, with empathy and with good judgment. We take this customer feedback seriously and are in the process of conducting an investigation into what occurred.

Here’s a news segment interviewing the sisters:

And here’s a YouTube video made by one of the other passengers who witnessed it:


This is horrible. Even if one of the sisters was being rude in how she addressed the flight attendant, you’d think they’d have some compassion. This is very different than a drunk person throwing a fit and cussing everyone out. This lady was probably dealing with one of the most difficult things she’s had to deal with, and as humans we should have compassion for that.

If a flight attendant isn’t able to downplay a situation when someone is dealing with something like this, can we really expect them to calmly deal with an emergency?

This is a very sad situation, and I hope that Allegiant takes action, and shares what they do with us.

(Tip of the hat to Live and Let’s Fly)

  1. I would pay for my family and friends to take an airline other than Allegiant. Ever since the fact their pilots’ statement over maintenance, I’ve had the chills about the airline.

    Though for the purpose of entertainment…. who votes Ben should at least fly them to make a good kick out of it :D?

  2. “a vast majority are, but like every industry, there are bad apples).”

    Cops too. Many are extremely arrogant.

    I was reading an article in NY times about Indian call centers fleecing Americans and the perpetrators said they were successful only because Americans are scared of their government.

    Think about that before you ever think that this society is better than Russia. People are mass brain washed here to blindly follow authority.

  3. This is disgraceful behaviour from power hunger flight attendants. This is why we need cameras in the cabin with audio! I hope the FA loses her job.

  4. So the passenger admits she:
    (1) had her cell phone on with the cabin door closed
    (2) got up while the plane was on the tarmac and moved around the cabin
    (3) “CONFRONTED” (not my words) the flight attendant *after the issue* was presumably resolved, and only then was there an issue

  5. I’m confused by this one. First you made it seem like it was before departure, but then the quote references that “the plane turned around.” If they were on an active taxiway, then the flight attendant has every right (and, in fact, duty) to get the passenger to sit down. While it clearly wasn’t handled properly, I don’t think the FA was out of line, at least at first. The alternative was stopping the plane on the taxiway until the passengers were seated and buckled in. Sounded like the passenger(s) got pretty aggressive with the FA quickly, so of course the FA wasn’t going to respond positively. FA is just following the rules in the interest of safety.

  6. Credit opines:

    “Think about that before you ever think that this society is better than Russia. People are mass brain washed here to blindly follow authority.”

    Or blindly follow the Kardashians or Real (sic) Housewives of xxx or …. the TSA.

    Baaaaa baaaaa baaaaaa

    Just sayin’

  7. @melissa @privilege

    “Empathy gap” as explained by Bill Maher is a common occurrence in deplorables.

    You will only understand when it happens to you…

  8. Don’t agree with you take on this Ben. The aircraft was moving. The flight attendant cannot allow passengers to freely move around the aircraft no matter what their personal circumstances. If they refuse to obey her request to sit back down then what choice did she have?

  9. Have to agree with Chris on this one. Standing up while on an active taxiway? Subsequently arguing about it? The FA has no choice but to enforce the rule. If there is any compassion to be provided, it would come from the captain’s discretion only, requiring taking the plane out of the takeoff queue, and impacting everyone else’s schedules. And they’d still need to sit down until the plane is safely parked.

  10. Folks… please never never never reply to Melissa or Credit. (On any OMAAT post) They are trolls who are only trying to piss people off and get a response. Just best to ignore them. They aren’t even worth mocking.

  11. The story the women are telling and the story of the woman in the youtube video is telling don’t jive. The woman admits she got up and moved, but the youtuber claims she never moved, which makes her entire recollection of the events questionable at best.

    And to use your own example of “what would happen in an emergency?” the same can be asked of the lady that gets up when she’s told not to, changes seats when she’s told not to, and then proceeds to argue with an authority figure.

    Being compassionate is one thing, but that doesn’t mean just letting someone do whatever they please, especially in a very controlled environment like an airplane.

  12. I agree with you Ben that post 9/11 the crews and our world have changed, but this is such a tragic story. What a tough call and tragic situation.

  13. Sounds like by their own admission there was legitimate cause to remove them, but I’m not convinced it was necessary for the safety of the passengers and crew to do so. We’ve only heard one side of the story though, and it doesn’t sound good for the would-be passengers or the flight crew.

    I can personally relate to getting word of a dying parent and needing to travel suddenly and quickly (and ultimately failing to arrive in time), so I’m sympathetic. Flight crews shouldn’t have to tolerate verbal abuse, but if they did comply with sitting down, buckling up and turning off their phones — and the only continued problem was an attitude, then they should’ve cut them some slack.

    Recognizing that a highly emotional situation can cause people to act impulsively, and some compassion for their time sensitive situation would’ve gone a long way.

  14. There is not always time for empathy. If the Captain had to top suddenly, and one of them fell on a passenger and somebody got injured, guess who would be sued for not enforcing federal regulations? Agree with earlier statements. Phones should have been in airplane mode when the doors closed…there are no exceptions for “family emergencies”, as harsh as that sounds. That is not how the law is written. We can debate the law all you want, but it doesn’t change. Additionally, as we have all memorizedif we have flown more than a couple of times, “Federal law requires that you obey all lighted signs and placards”, which, I’m fairly sure, include the seatbelt sign in this instance. Sure, we always see that guy who “has to get his stuff right now”, or the lady who “can’t wait to use the lav”, but the law is the law, and maybe if the FAs were more comfortable with asking passengers to obey the signs without being accused of being on a power trip (though some clearly are), or pressured to be fired for doing their jobs, it would be less of an issue. Remember, “Flight Attendants are here primarily for your safety” has been part of the preflight schpeel for as long as I can remember.

    I feel badly for the two sisters for the loss of their father, I really do. Would you excuse somebody who was driving 120 in the emergency lane, weaving in and out of traffic? Maybe you would. What if they hit somebody? What if they tried to kick in the cockpit door to tell the pilots to hurry up? Where will you draw the line of “compassion”? IT’s simple, the line has already been drawn, in terms of what the law says. Don’t like it? Campaign to change the law.

  15. Always more to the story. If you click through and watch the video, there are many parts of that video in direct conflict with what the “sister” is saying.

    Still, I agree that the POWER given to FA’s can easily get out of control. Power trips cause so much trouble.

  16. @Matt,

    Thank you for telling people how to think. I had forgotten about it even though that is the main premise of my argument. I see that you have one blind follower already. šŸ˜‰

  17. Agree with others. By the video recorders admission, the sisters had the phone still active and 1 even got up during ready to take off. Maybe flight attendant could have handled it better but look at the one that initially caused the problem. Rules are rules and it must be followed. Otherwise, anyone can give some sad story, move around the plane when its about to take off and do whatever sinister.

  18. Easy solution. Get “flight attendants” back to being more like air hostesses / stewardesses in a customer service oriented role and away from this non-believable crap like being around primarily for safety. That’s why you have them on a power trip instead of properly tending to passenger needs and requests for service.

  19. Sensationalist headline….perhaps you should take a more unbiased approach when there are two sides to the story that need to be heard. Not the first time.

  20. If the story really unfolded as described in the news report (plane being taxiing already), you are so off, Ben!

    How can someone travelling as much as you support the safety rule neglecting behavior of these women? I don’t get it!

  21. We were on the flight – and already hours delayed after system issues, weather restrictions and a change of aircraft. Everyone was upset and anxious to get home.

    There was a commotion in back and next thing we know we are headed back to the gate and a police officer was coming on board. From where we sat there was also an Air Marshal or off duty officer on the flight who provided input to the police who escorted the sisters off.

    They would have been to their destination and seen their dad had they simply obeyed the rules like everyone else. Their behavior caused everyone else on the plane – including the handicapped 80 yr olds with whom we were flying – to be inconvenienced and delayed further.

    I also noted that there was applause from the rear after the sisters were escorted out and we were on our way.

    There are always multiple sides to a story and as much empathy as I have for their plight, they contributed significantly to the issue at hand.

    And NO – I am not an Allegiant airline employee nor do I have any specific interest in allegiant airways. Just saying what I saw and what I experienced.

  22. I had a similar situation two years ago when my grandmother passed away. It was a delta flight from Atlanta to Bogota. The cabin door closed. Then the pilot came on the PA to let us know we would not be moving for a while as there was a huge ATC delay. I got in the phone to let the hotel know we would be arriving after midnight due to a delay. The flight attendant came right away una very nasty way. Told me to shut the phone down. I told her no. I said we were on a delay therefore I could use the phone. Furthermore I explained to her the situation. She said she didn’t care to turn it off. It made my mom cry. I told her sorry but no. I was not going to turn it off. She immediately said we have a problem I’m going to the captain right away. The captain came over, i explained to him the situation and told him, I know when we are on a ground delay specially where we have not even been towed back that I could use the phone. That it was common sense. That I wasn’t confrontational with him. That he was just plain nasty to the point my mom is crying. Her mom (my grandma) passed away and we are flying back to Colombia because of that. He apologized to me and was extremely nice. He then went back to the cockpit. Summoned the FA and within a minute the captain came on the PA and said, hello just wanted to let everyone know it is ok to continue to use your devices until we are given the OK to move.

  23. I would love to see Lucky on the Allegiant flight. And the people who stole this thread to give us political lessons. – fuck you all. This thread is about a plane, two sisters and a flight attendant. Where did Russia come from into the discussion and what all this political shit has to do with it? Please don’t answer. Unfortunately you will because you love to hear your voice and read your writing. Just remember, when you talk, it is like fingernail on black board for us. We don’t give a flying fart about your thoughts and….you take up valuable oxigen while you talk.

  24. Sorry, but while the sisters are somewhat at fault, a little human compassion goes a long way. If you find out a loved one is dying, sometimes you just lose track of “situational awareness” and may not be thinking about regulations. The FA should have just got the standing one seated as quickly as possible and asked them to put their phones in their pocket or the seatback pocket. No need to make a big confrontation out of it.

    I do think too many FAs – not that many, but enough that it’s become an issue – have really gotten to the point where they’re willing to unleash their inner Eric Cartmans and lash out at anyone who doesn’t “respect their authoritah”. Taking three seconds to think about “what would I be doing in that situation?” would help.

  25. They also told the flight attendant one of them was having a “panic attack”, which could become a major problem in flight.

  26. The witness in the video said she was sitting behind the two sisters and that they never stood up or removed their seat belts, but only reached across the aisle to rub her sister’s shoulder.

  27. well this is just the problem of this country. it does not matter what the initiator does, its all on the reactionary response that everybody jumps on. compassion has nothing to do with this. if a passenger is dying in the back of plane during taking off, will you be a human being & rush to save her? There is a side of this social rule that’s hard & cold when it comes to being in a group.

  28. If you place personal cameras on all flight crews like they are starting to do with police personnel we’ll see a big change in customer service and accountability.

  29. This is a tough call… both side at fault. Just remember that FA got the trump card.

    Having a panic attack is enough for them to remove you from the plane. Its a safely thing.

  30. @Sergio. You were rude to the flight attendant. Most people don’t want to hear your phone calls. Delays are stressful enough as it is

  31. @Rand = double idiot.

    My post had a cogent point referenced to an actual article in a paper. What was in your post? You go somewhere else.

  32. @Phil – completely agree. There are 2 sides to every story. We’re only hearing/seeing 1 side right now.

  33. Remembering 40 years ago, finding out my brother had committed suicide and flying 2000 miles back home to help my parents….United from SFO to ORD, I was in complete shock, alternating between crying and catatonic. The flight attendants couldn’t have been nicer. They put me, by my request, in the back of the plane with as few people around as possible. One sat with me and held my hand. Another put her arms around me and hugged me. I doubt that we’d see that behavior on any airline these days, but those women on that flight went above and beyond to show empathy. I will never forget it.

  34. There must be two sides to this story, always is, but I generally agree with the statements that the two sisters contributed to this mess, and the FA had zero compassion and therefore is also at fault in this. I would not approve of employing an FA like that. At the same time, the sisters have to shoulder some of the blame for not being on that flight that day.

  35. @Curt
    “Would you excuse somebody who was driving 120 in the emergency lane, weaving in and out of traffic? Maybe you would. What if they hit somebody? What if they tried to kick in the cockpit door to tell the pilots to hurry up? Where will you draw the line of ā€œcompassionā€? ITā€™s simple, the line has already been drawn, in terms of what the law says. Donā€™t like it? Campaign to change the law”

    You may not excuse the person speeding in an emergency lane, weaving in and out of traffic, but the police and the court of law certainly do when there’s legitimate emergencies. The officer may even call an ambulance or escort them. Judges have been known to throw out speeding tickets of parents racing home when they got calls that their child had wandered away from the house and couldn’t be found. If they hit someone, unless there was a death, it’d be a matter for civil court for the costs of injury/damages to those people. Those women didn’t try to do that though is the thing. The law makes exceptions when there’s good reason, even when other’s are put at risk.

  36. Some people will not relate to the story because they have parents who they never visit and don’t give a damn about. Stop obsessing with rules! Rules are for stupid people; real good people do not need them because they know right from wrong every time. Cabin crew could have calmed her down in the time it took her to get in touch with the captain to turn around the plane. American crews power trip every so often, that it is no news at all anymore… They should be more carefully screened for mental health, as they tend to be the loud, hysterical, power hungry, rule addicted types.

  37. Don’t fly Allegiant. As an airline, they are horrible. They buy old airplanes and don’t do the service intervals, as Allegiant sells aircraft before they have to do the expensive maintenance. 3 years ago, over half of the Allegiant fleet was grounded over the escape slides not being serviced properly. Allegiant nickels and dimes passengers for every little thing including boarding passes. Allegiant…..bad, bad airline! Can’t say, if these women would have had a different experience on another airline, but….

  38. Maybe the lady knew that the will was not signed and she hadn’t talked to her mother in quite some time. LOL Sorry if that offends. None of us are actually prepared for how we might react to the loss of a loved one, whether it is naturally impending or sudden. BUT on an airplane, maybe she should have taken a tranquilizer ahead of time if she was prone to panic attacks. The flight staff never know What the REAL situation is. There are so many imposters out there these days. RIP . There is a lesson here. Be prepared. It is not IF it is WHEN this will happen to each of us .

  39. Nothing like learning that your father only has hours to live via a text.

    While I don’t know the situation, we all know that the flight attendant is responsible for passenger safety. If the one sister was standing, the pilot certainly couldn’t stop the aircraft to ensure her safety. Rules need to be followed.

  40. I was just thrown off alligant air, and was only told after words that I was aggressive, I have no idea how or to who… I think they confused me with someone else. ended up having to get a hotel and schedule a different flight (frontier) out however I couldn’t get on to the same airport where my cars was for days.. end up flying to one and ubering to the other. I was never spoken too by anyone from the crew, the called my wife over the loud speaker and told her… police came and they thought I should be allowed back on they spoke to piolit and he said no. other passangers put together a pettion to get me back on, they said no. I was out of luck and money and still don’t know why.

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