No photo

Getty Images

An American Airlines passenger is suing the airline after he was kicked off a flight so a dog could sit in his first class seat.

Dana Holcomb, of Killeen, Texas, was returning to Austin after a 53rd birthday celebration in April.

As he boarded the plane Holcomb noticed the passenger sitting next to him had her pet - a comfort dog with her.

Holcomb, who is allergic to dogs, immediately began to experience allergy symptoms.

The pet owner offered to switch seats, but no other passenger would give up their seat.

The flight crew and captain offered to move Holcomb to the back of the plane, but he declined.

Tensions flared and surveillance video shows the captain pointing his finger in Holcomb's face.

The airline would later accuse Holcomb of causing a scene and being uncooperative. But two witnesses disputed their side of the story.

Holcomb was kicked off the flight without his luggage or allergy medicine. He was not offered a connecting flight or hotel accommodations, according to his attorney.

He booked a hotel room at his expense for the night, and he caught another flight home the next day.

Holcomb filed a lawsuit against American Airlines for racial discrimination and infliction of emotional distress. "To be honest, it made me feel that I was less than a dog," he said.

"Dana was taken off a plane so a dog could fly first-class cabin," his attorney Reginald McKamie, Sr. told reporters, according to ABC affiliate KWTX.

"What American Airlines is doing is discrimination," McKamie said. "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 spokesman Curtis Blessing said Holcomb was offered a refund which he refused.

"They were then offered a seat in the main cabin to provide additional separation and were offered a refund for the difference in their first-class fare but also declined and remained confrontational," Blessing said in a statement.

An attorney who was in first class disputed the airline's version of the story, KXXV reports.

Jay Youngdahl, who is an executive platinum member, said he overheard the captain say Holcomb was likely to be a "danger" to other passengers and crew.

Youngdahl also said the captain invited the young woman and her dog into the cockpit before the flight, which is against FAA regulations.

As the story went viral over the weekend, American Airlines spokeswoman Lakesha Brown reached out to The Root late Monday night with the following explanation:

"Federal regulations require American Airlines to transport service and support animals. American makes every effort to accommodate all passengers, including those traveling with and seated near service or support animals. In the case of an allergy, we work to re-seat a passenger further away from the service or support animal.

Mr. Holcomb's seat was next to a customer with an emotional support animal. 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. American has not received [a] lawsuit but once we do we will review it and respond in court when appropriate."

Rapper Post Malone was on board a private jet that landed safely in New York after it blew 2 tires on takeoff from a New Jersey airport Tuesday morning.

Minutes after the jet made an emergency landing, Malone took to Twitter.com to thank his followers for their prayers. He also lashed out at Twitter users who wished death on him.

Read more »

US soldier

A U.S. Army soldier took 10 flights in 2 days to get home in time to attend his daughter's birth in Monterey, California.

U.S. Army Combat Engineer Francois Clerfe made it to the hospital in time to join his wife, Natalia Svistunova, at the hospital before she gave birth to their daughter on New Year's Day.

Clerfe said he flew nearly 10,000 miles from his deployment in Iraq to L.A. -- that's 10 flights over 2 days. “Kuwait, to Turkey, to Turkey to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Baltimore, Baltimore to Atlanta,” he said, before catching the final 3 legs of his trip to Monterey.

Read more »

Tamika Mallory

Women's rights activist Tamika Mallory was booted off an American Airlines flight in Miami after a dispute over seating on Sunday.

Mallory was on a flight heading home to New York when the pilot followed her on board to chastise her over an argument she had with a gate agent.

Read more »

Urana McCauley

Urana McCauley, Rosa Parks' niece, does not see any comparison between her aunt and combatant United Airlines passenger Dr. David Dao.

Rosa Parks is a civil rights legend who refused to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. Her act of peaceful defiance helped spark the black civil rights movement.

Read more »

...when technical difficulties force you off the court & into a desert windstorm ? @allisonw_espn #finalfour

A post shared by Sage Steele (@sagesteele) on

For weeks there were rumors about an upcoming round of layoffs at ESPN. The sports network is bleeding cable subscribers due to its radical leftwing agenda that rubbed mostly conservative sports fans the wrong way.

ESPN's layoffs were expected to bring surprises, as anchors and field personnel alike sweat bullets wondering whose head was on the chopping block.

Read more »

Kandi Burruss

Reality TV stars Kandi Burruss and her husband, Todd Tucker, were kicked off a Hawaiian Airlines flight after apparently causing a ruckus over their tickets.

We don't know the full story, but according to Burruss, 40, a flight attendant took the couple's tickets, saying they weren't in the system.

Read more »

Columbus short

Former Scandal actor Columbus Short was back in the news yesterday. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest after Short missed a court hearing on felony battery charges stemming from a fight in March. But Short had a good excuse for not attending the hearing: he missed his flight from Atlanta.

Read more »

Algeria airline

Algerian officials confirmed the crash of a passenger airliner earlier today in the desert near the border of Mali.

Algeria Air Flight 5017 carrying 110 passengers and six crew was en route from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital when it disappeared from radar over northern Mali.

Two Algeria fighter jets spotted the wreckage in the desert.

Read more »

Cor Pan Facebook

A Dutch passenger posted this image of Malaysia Airlines MH17 to his Facebook page before he boarded the plane.

Cor Pan, who was heading to Kuala Lumpur on vacation with his girlfriend Neeltje Tol, paused on the sky bridge to take this photo of the doomed plane. The caption reads, "If it disappears, this is what it looks like."

As the reality of the tragedy set in, Pan's Facebook friends expressed their grief and shared the post thousands of times.

One comment from a friend reads "Enjoy your holiday man." Another FB user wrote "Rest in peace, cousin."

MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine earlier today. 295 passengers and crew on board were killed.

23 Americans and 9 Brits were among the passengers on board MH17 when it was shot down.

Malaysia Airlines confirmed it lost contact with the Boeing 777 jet as it flew over the Ukraine from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Reporters at the scene were encouraged to take pictures of the bodies that lay scattered in a wheat field.

CAUTION: Graphic photos after the break!

Read more »

Malaysia Airlines Passenger Jet Shot Down

A Malaysia Airlines passenger jet carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew was shot down over the Ukraine, Fox News reports. The Boeing 777 was shot down at cruising altitude (above 30,000 feet) over the Ukraine. All 295 souls on board are dead. This is the 2nd tragedy to strike Malaysia Airlines since March, when one of its jets disappeared over the South Indian Ocean.

The MH17 Boeing 777 wide body jet was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it was shot down. "The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow,” read a tweet from Malaysia Airlines’ Twitter account.

American planes are banned from flying over that region because of the risk of planes being shot out of the sky.

Read more »

Lebrons sons

There has been much speculation about where Miami Heat superstar LeBron James will play now that he's a NBA free agent. One source claims LeBron will return to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2015 season after winning 2 NBA rings with the Miami Heat.

The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted LeBron with the No. 1 pick in 2003. The city has never fully recovered from LeBron's decision to take his talents to South Beach 4 years ago.

Read more »

15-year-old stowaway

A 15-year-old runaway survived a harrowing 5½-hour flight to Hawaii stowed away in the wheel well of a jumbo airliner on Sunday.

Aviation experts say the teen was probably unconscious soon after taking off from Mineta San Jose International Airport in California. He likely remained unconscious for most of the flight, according to the FBI.

Read more »

Rihanna Bares Her Midriff As She Arrives On a Flight at LAX

Bajan singer Rihanna was swarmed by a mob of paparazzi when she arrived on a flight at LAX airport in Los Angeles, California on Saturday. The 26-year-old has been in the news lately for chasing her bestie Drake around Europe. Rihanna attended all of Drake's European concerts. After his final tour stop in London, Drake jetted home to Canada while Rihanna flew back to Los Angeles solo.
Photo: INFphoto.com

Read more »