A 68-year-old woman sued an airline after the crew kicked her out for removing the mask to drink water. The woman, identified as Medora Clai Reading, is suing Southweast Airlines for €8.8 million claiming that the crew dismissed her medical needs — heart condition and low blood sugar — which required that she permanently drank water.
1. ”Covid-19 insanity”
According to her complaint, the woman offered to show the attendant her medical exemption and said she received a bleak “we don’t care” as an answer. Eventually a gate attendant ordered her off the flight while an unmasked pilot “laughed mockingly”.
Reading said she was helped by the local police, who found her a chair and offered water, as they mentioned that similar situations were “happening far too often” and “it is usually Southwest.”
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Kristina Heuser, called Southwest’s conduct “hostile and abusive” and reflected a “Covid-19 insanity” that should not override federal laws protecting people with medical disabilities.
2. Passenger disputes
The passenger’s lawsuit in federal court in Brooklyn differs from disputes focused on travellers who are unwilling to wear masks. The Federal Aviation Administration said airline crews in 2021 submitted 5,981 reports of unruly passengers, including 4,290 incidents related to masks.
Reading’s lawsuit denounces violations of the federal Air Carrier Access Act and various civil rights laws. The flight attendant, two gate officials and the pilot, none of whom is identified by name, are also defendants in this legal battle.
Recently, in Europe, the Belgian actor and comedian François Damiens was expelled from a Brussels Airlines plane in Toulouse for being under the influence of alcohol and very noisy on board.
The police had to intervene to escort him out, but the incident was not the subject of a complaint, according to aviation24.