Two sisters were kicked off a plane after arguing with the flight crew ― and they say they missed their father’s death because of it.
Debbie Hartman and Trisha Baker, from DeLand, Florida, were taking a flight on Allegiant Air on Monday to visit their ailing father in North Carolina. While sitting on the tarmac, they learned via text that their father wasn’t going to make it through the night, according to a police report obtained by The Huffington Post.
Before takeoff, Baker moved seats to console her sister, who said she was having a panic attack, according to the Orlando-based CBS affiliate WKMG. Flight staff asked her to move back to her seat and stow her luggage, and the situation quickly devolved.
“[My sister] said [to the flight attendant], ‘You’re being very rude. My father is dying, and I’m comforting her,’” Hartman told WKMG. “And they said she needed to keep her personal problems off the plane.”
Hartman told the station that they were escorted off the flight minutes later ― but according to the police report, flight attendants notified the authorities after Hartman flipped one of them off.
The police officer who responded tried to help the sisters get re-booked, but Allegiant Air didn’t have another flight until Friday. They weren’t charged with a crime, but their hopes of getting home to see their father’s final moments were dashed.
“I knew I was not going to see my dad then,” Hartman told NBC News. “I was begging all the way out the plane and it was very humiliating, now that I look back, but I was in shock, and I was saying, ‘Could you please let me go see my dad? Please, he’s dying.’”
Another passenger who says she was on the flight stood up for the sisters on YouTube, saying Allegiant staff were out of line and showed no compassion.
“That was the most inhumane, deplorable thing I’ve ever seen any human being do,” the woman said.
Allegiant Air didn’t immediately return calls for comment, but released the following statement earlier this week:
“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. “
Hartman and Baker were unavailable for comment on Friday.