SANFORD, Fla. -- “I forgot dad lost so much weight,” says Debbie Hartman of Deland as she looks at photos of her deceased father.
Hartman and her sister only have photos as memories of him after an unfortunate incident they say happened on an Allegiant Air flight.
“She came back to the empty seat to talk to me and the stewardess was, like, sit down,” says Hartman.
The two were headed to Asheville, N.C., to see their dying father when they received a text message saying he didn’t have much longer.
“My sister sat down and I started having a panic attack and I cried hysterically,” said Hartman. “Trisha, my sister, got yelled at by the flight attendant saying to sit down even though she already was."
“She said to the stewardess, ‘Can you please come here?’ And the woman said ‘No,’ so my sister said then I’m just going to say it, ‘My father is dying and I’m comforting her.’ And she was, like, you have to keep your personal problems to yourself,” says Hartman.
Another passenger chimed in telling the stewardess she was being rude and that’s when they heard the captain turning the plane around.
“I got more hysterical and I remember going up and down the aisle and I said I’m so sorry guys. I said my dad is dying and I just want to see my dad,” said Hartman.
The two were escorted off the plane by police.
“They told us we were a threat to the flight,” said Hartman.
And it’s not just the two sisters who say they weren’t treated right. Other passengers were upset, too, one even taking it to YouTube.
“The other one not involved said, ‘Well, if people act that way we can’t control them on ground can’t control them in air — you know if you start cussing at people start flipping them off and can’t get back in seat and four of us looked at the stewardess and said, 'what? They didn’t flip anyone off. They didn’t cuss at anyone,'” said the woman on YouTube.
Allegiant Air released this statement about 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.”
For the sisters, they tried to hop on another flight the next day but it was too late.
“I got a call that he passed,” said Hartman.
Now, they can only hope this never happens to anyone else and hope the airline will make sure it doesn’t.
“When they hire these people they have to think of people’s character. I think part of their training, you hear so much now this person got kicked off for this. And this person got kicked off for this. Just because someone says something you have no chance to defend yourself,” said Hartman.