A woman who says she was kicked off a United Airlines flight in 2016 after being falsely accused of having a communicable disease is suing the carrier.
Alexandra Jicol-Huylebroeck’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges negligence and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The complaint filed Tuesday seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
“This is a legal matter so we are not able to comment,” United Airlines Director of Corporate Communications Frank Benenati said.
The suit filed Tuesday states that Jicol-Huylebroek has been diagnosed with acute allergies by her Torrance physician. Whenever the woman flies, she informs the airline that she has a medical disability, the suit states.
Jicol-Huylebroeck provided two letters at check-in about her condition before boarding Flight 151 from Guam to Osaka, Japan, on July 20, 2016, the suit states.
“She has severe, life-threatening allergic reactions to various foods, medications and flavorings,” the letters read, adding that she must always carry with her the appropriate medications.
However, while sitting in her seat in front of the passenger cabin before Flight 151 took off, an airport security guard, flanked by two United Airlines attendants, told Jicol-Huylebroeck to leave the aircraft, the suit states.
“The command was loud and confrontational,” the suit alleges.
Jicol-Huylebroeck was “humiliated” because the incident was witnessed by other passengers, the suit states.
After the sobbing plaintiff asked why she was being forced to leave, the guard told her, “You must get off the plane,” the suit states.
Two days later, Jicol-Huylebroeck demanded an explanation from United Airlines, the suit states.
United Airlines sent her an email in August 2016 that stated the carrier had the right to remove passengers “who appear to have symptoms of or who have a communicable disease that could pose a threat to the health or safety of others on the flight, or who refuse a screening for such circumstances, ” the suit states.
Jicol-Huylebroeck never showed any signs of a communicable disease and did not refuse to undergo a screening, according to her lawsuit.
Despite an obligation to provide a response within 30 days to the plaintiff’s written demand for an explanation as to why United Airlines thought she had a communicable disease, no further clarification was offered, the suit alleges.
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