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Black Man Forced To Leave Aircraft So A Dog Could Fly First Class, Lawsuit Follows

Dana Holcomb says he was forced to find his own way home after he got kicked off an American Airlines flight is suing the airline.

On Tuesday, Holcomb surrounded by family, his fraternity brothers and his attorney, Reginald McKamie, Sr., discussed details of a lawsuit filed against the airline.

“Dana was taken off an airplane so a dog could fly first-class cabin,” McKamie said.

Holcomb was on his way back in April to Austin from Las Vegas after celebrating his birthday, but had a connecting flight in Phoenix.

He says he had an allergic reaction to a support dog belonging to another passenger.

American Airlines, in a statement, says it makes accommodations for dogs

“American makes every effort to accommodate all passengers, including those traveling with and seated near service or support animals,” a statement read.

Holcomb says the passenger offered to switch seats but after no one volunteered, a flight attendant and a pilot got involved.

Holcomb says he questioned why he had to move to the back of the plane.

“At that point (workers) told him you’re going to go to the rear of the plane or get off the plane,”McKamie said.

Holcomb was taken off the plane after employees say he was confrontational, a claim he denies.

According to the lawsuit, two passengers also made sworn statements to support Holcomb’s claim.

“What American Airlines is doing is discrimination. 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,” McKamie added.

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In response, American Airlines also says, “We are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds and are committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone who flies with us.”

Holcomb and his attorney want the airline to change their policies on discrimination and how passengers are treated.

“We are seeking punitive damages, contractual damages,” McKamie said.

Holcomb says he was without his luggage, medicine and had to find his own way home.

He says he stayed overnight in Phoenix before getting on another flight on Delta, not American.

Full statement from American Airlines:

“We are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds and are committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone who flies with us.

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. If the customer is still not comfortable flying, we will re-book them on the next available flight to their destination.

If a lawsuit is filed, American will review it and respond in court when appropriate.”

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54 comments

Darlene M Brabant August 30, 2019 at 1:42 pm

This story has so many holes . He has a allergic reaction to a service dog they want to move him away form the dog . and he doesn’t want to move . Air lines have to take service dogs period This guys lawyers is a what we call ambulance chaser . this this guy is going to lose and the lawyer is going to get lots of money . Every one is looking for money .

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Dee August 30, 2019 at 8:20 pm

B.S., move the person with the dog….. service dog or not no one should be forced to sit next to or be moved because of an animal !Blacks should stop spending their money with these animals!

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Vadim Nesen September 1, 2019 at 9:47 am

Pulling the race card eh?
What a lowlife, he will loose .
Another one of those people starting a race fight out of thin air.
Another, Drama queen.

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Aw September 2, 2019 at 10:50 pm

You are stupid

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Gee September 3, 2019 at 4:13 pm

If you need the support of an animal in order to fly, maybe, just maybe you shouldn’t be flying, but seeing a therapists. Whether he has an allergy or not, everyone is not in love with animals & nont want to be seated near them. An animal ‘s behavior is not always predictable, & that includes the ‘trained’ ones. They are animals. The airlines need to revisit their policy.

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DFresh September 3, 2019 at 11:09 am

He will loose?? Grammar matters….

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George Anderson September 4, 2019 at 6:27 am

You whites always saying that pull the race card shit when facts of racism is pointed out.

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Tony W September 1, 2019 at 12:27 pm

For some reason (we know why) they never considered moving the service dog from first class.

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Leanne September 2, 2019 at 6:45 pm

If it was a true service animal and not a pet, a support animal is protected under ADA regulations like a wheelchair or walker. You can’t move them because they are service related. He should have moved and just demanded being comped for his first class seat. It said he was allergic. You legally cannot move a service animal.

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Terry September 2, 2019 at 2:28 am

I don’t know about the whole truth but I will say this: If you make me move to another seat because of a DOG, I need to get that ride for free. Every single penny that I paid for that ticket should be refunded to me and a check should be ready when I step off the plane when the plane lands. PERIOD.

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coastrider September 2, 2019 at 4:02 pm

why didnt they move the DOG to the back of the plane???

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Kal September 2, 2019 at 9:40 pm

Story says support dog, not service dog. Airlines need to crack down on people claiming to need support dogs.

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Kal September 2, 2019 at 9:44 pm

Story says support dog, not service dog. Airlines need to crack down on people claiming to need support dogs.

Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy dogs are not service animals under Title II and Title III of the ADA. … Psychiatric Service Dog is a dog that has been trained to perform tasks that assist individuals with disabilities to detect the onset of psychiatric episodes and lessen their effects.

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Ron Mack September 3, 2019 at 5:05 pm

So why not move the ANIMAL? This just goes to show that european america, places more value in a DAMNED DOG than they do a Black American. SMDH make amreikkka great again.

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George Anderson September 4, 2019 at 6:29 am

Exactly Ron Mack!

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Ajohnson September 3, 2019 at 9:48 pm

Ms. Brambrandt you are am idiot. They should have moved the passenger with the support dog to the rear of the plane. This man paid for a first class seat and deserved to sit there. He is going to win this case and i hope they take American Airlines for all they have.

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Ernie September 5, 2019 at 9:18 am

No one should have to give up their seat because of an animal. Nor should they be forced to sit next to one on an airplane. There should be longer time periods to prove the need for a support animal on a plane or any other public venue.

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mike September 6, 2019 at 10:55 am

its not a service dog first of all, it’s a bs emotional support animal. If you need emotional support maybe you shouldn’t be flying.

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Jon Lee September 6, 2019 at 1:56 pm

Sounds like WHITE PRIVILEGE!!! No way if he was a paying white male first class passenger would he been asked to go to the back.

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Dj August 30, 2019 at 1:55 pm

Y’all asses need I notify anyone that has to sit near a animal. I don’t want to be seated near a animal when traveling but hey I keep forgetting animals are more important. I hope he will and people stop flying with yall

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Vernon Wayne Hampton, Jr August 30, 2019 at 2:07 pm

If I’d paid for a First Class seat and they wanted me to sit at the back of the plane, I’d be questioning it as well. Are you giving me a refund? Because if not, why would I want to move?

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KK August 30, 2019 at 2:56 pm

Why didn’t they move the passenger and the dog. Why does a single passenger have to be inconvenienced? This is ridiculous and the airline workers should be ashamed and re-trained. Since when do we put animals before passengers. Oh wait, the passenger is black 💡

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Blackthought September 1, 2019 at 10:23 am

If you had read, it said the passenger offered to switch seats but nobody volunteered

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Skeewee September 1, 2019 at 10:43 am

Exactly so instead of making the lady with dog move to the bk of the plane they tried to force the Black man to the bk of the plane, which he understandably refused, therefore they made him leave. This was not desired result.

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Louise Lewis August 30, 2019 at 8:14 pm

THIS is beyond ridiculous. Animals take precedence over PAYING passengers. There was another incident where a man was allergic to dogs and a woman with a SUPPORT not even a service dog was playing with the dog and scratching the dog and releasing it’s dander. The flight attendant said there as nothing she could do. The allergic passenger was taken off the flight when they landed IN AN AMBULANCE. because of a LIFE THREATENING reaction to the dander. ALL of the airlines should have a policy that the dog stays in it’s crate and that crate should be COVERED, so as not to release the dander. BUT since they have now said people can fly with their support ponys.. It’s not likely, American Airlines, United Airlines or Delta Airlines will consider rules that take into account passengers that may have allergies.

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Annie Truth August 30, 2019 at 10:32 pm

This will be taken up with the Supreme Court in terms of human rights over animal rights. First file the lawsuit and include that the airline put the passenger’s health in danger. I an asthmatic (911 illness) and I be damn if I am inconvenient or health put in danger due to a pet — and I am a lifelong pet owner. Sue the airline.

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DIane August 31, 2019 at 5:31 am

I’m so sick of these animal lovers who get a note from the doctor so they can fly with their pet. the only one who needs to be inconvenienced is the one who HAS to have their pet with them all the time or they can’t cope with life. DRIVE YOUR CAR THEN!

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Debra Fisher August 31, 2019 at 7:45 am

In the first place why is animals sitting next to passengers on the plane they should have there own section not where people are sitting on the plane they need to be in the back of the plane everyone is not a animal lover of everybodys else’s animal stinking up the plane and l definitely don’t want your cat or dog sitting next to me while I’m eating my food this is just nasty as hell

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Travis Bickle August 31, 2019 at 10:41 am

Looks like yet another story of somebody looking for a payday. The author of the story is clearly biased and inflammatory so of course you’re going to be upset but you haven’t been told the whole truth read the mainline social media stories about this incident and you’ll see that this man was the one that instigated this confrontation he demanded that the service animal been moved away from him and no one is first class was willing to switch seats and federal law requires that service animals be accommodated so the airline could not remove the animal. The man was removed not because he was black but because he was confrontational with the flight crew and I don’t care what race you are you cannot interfere with the flight you will get booted It happens to people of other races all the time . You can’t cause a disturbance on a flight and then whip our a race card and say “ I’m untouchable because I’m black “ come on now .

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Frances September 1, 2019 at 3:30 am

He’ll sue and he’ll win. Common damn sense says move the dog first. How stupid are you to think the human will give up his seat for the dog lol. The dog can sit anywhere and doesn’t even have a preference. He doesn’t require first class. 😌

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Ret Richardson September 1, 2019 at 4:33 am

I would like to clarify that according to the article this was a SUPPORT” dog. Not a “SERVICE” dog. A service dog is highly trained to perform a specific service (like a seeing eye dog or a dog that detects when seizures will occur.)

A support dog is a companion pet who’s presence provides emotional support for the owner but the animal doesn’t actually perform a service.

A SERVICE animal is protected by law. A SUPPORT animal is not.

There are pet owners abusing the law just because they want their pets with them. This is causing a lot of difficulties for disabled people who actually need their service animals in order to be able to function in their daily lives.

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Antoinette ford September 1, 2019 at 8:40 am

Thank you for clarifying.

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Sampson September 1, 2019 at 9:11 am

But we can enforce the unspoken race card or racial privilege of in right because I’m white though.

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Kenneth Moore September 1, 2019 at 12:21 pm

He should have simply switched seats with someone else in 1st class. I believe his attitude was not acceptable for such a small problem to fix. Everything is not about race all the time but or current social climate allow for everyday racism so that is why he pulled the race card. Mi thought is he was probably being unreasonable and trying to take advantage of where theis country is on race right now. Sad but it is what it is.

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Carol Brit September 1, 2019 at 9:44 am

Travis, the problem with many people like you, you know…racist people, is that they are unaware of their condition. Racism is a deeply disturbing mental disorder that blocks all ability to think logically or unbiasly. It’s a terrible affliction. There is no cure for it yet, but I hear that sometimes education helps…sometimes. You should try it and see if you get better.

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Dan Roley September 1, 2019 at 10:34 am

Carol…the Race Issue card is an indication of certain ….limited…menat health concerns.
As a South African rescue ops staff guy I have that Racism pegged lower on the Damage Scales.
Plus
..Racism appears as Xenophobia in evolved situations. South Afria projecrs a Range of Psych problems which clearly show the optics of evolved racism.

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coastrider September 2, 2019 at 4:06 pm

why didnt they move the DOG to the back of the plane???

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coastrider September 2, 2019 at 4:07 pm

wow…your ignorance is ASTOUNDING

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Dawn September 1, 2019 at 10:35 am

Awesome comment!

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Angi August 31, 2019 at 12:25 pm

I say boycott American Airlines! This is happening too often.

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Janp September 1, 2019 at 9:03 am

Taking emotion out of it, the airline must follow the law . The law addresses service animals, not seating inconvenienced people. I agree if he had to be moved he should have been offered something for his inconvenience. We need to really grasp that the bigger suit would be if the airline failed to follow the law. And its service animal which I found in a theater could be a horse. Crazy laws

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Dare Me September 1, 2019 at 9:57 am

It wasn’t a service animal. It was a support animal. Big difference.

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Crumbz August 31, 2019 at 1:44 pm

So they replace peanuts with pets 😂 People are allergic to peanuts so no more peanuts. Allergic to pets, off you go!

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Joyce August 31, 2019 at 3:02 pm

Service animals and their owners should have a section at the back of the plane (just like the old time smoking section). A service animal should never have preference over a PAYING customer! Move the animal and it’s owner or rebook them!

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alani August 31, 2019 at 3:07 pm

I do not like traveling on American Airlines! I reserved my seats and went to sit down and there was a white male with a baby and the baby was in my window seat. The man told me they were told to sit there by the Airlines. They have a policy that a child has to sit by the window. However they were in my seat that I had booked! Then the Flight attendant was telling me to go to the back I told her I was not going to move to the back as I am disabled and that is why I was sitting in the front. It ended with a guy near us exchanging seats. However, the airlines should not have double booked my seat in the first place! They never apologize for embarrassing and inconveniencing us. I am allergic to cat and dog hair and no one should be forced to sit beside an animal nor should the animal have more rights than people!

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Me September 1, 2019 at 9:56 am

Oh my! you “have” to notice that it was a white male you racist.
Always pulling the race card, thats a mental disorder always thinking your a target ny white people when in fact racism is at its all time low in the US . stop watching TV and look around. They are brainwashing u.

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J Wang August 31, 2019 at 8:04 pm

I’m not sure if we are getting the full story here. BTW, it’s a service dog and they are working dogs which support disabled ppl (for blind, physically impaired, and or alert for acute symptoms..etc .)
I would think moving the healthy passenger(s) is easier and safer than moving the disabled and his/ her service dog.
This is not about animal right or someone’s “pet” is getting better treatment than ppl.
What would you do if you were the FA facing this challenge?

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Harrison September 1, 2019 at 2:21 am

I hope he wins, I am sick and tired of people with dogs and other animals, everyone doesn’t love or have like your animals! Not cute all the freaking time – at restaurants, salons, malls, too much! Do pet owners consider others!

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Shonda - NC September 1, 2019 at 5:37 am

I think the paying customer will win this one in the end. First of all no one wanted to sit next to the dog when offered. Who would choose that option? Secondly, a passenger should be notified that there will be a service dog seated next to them and if they booked first and it is unacceptable that passenger and animal should be seated elsewhere or put on another flight. These inconveniences should not be found out when you board a plane. Airline have some courtesy. If the dog was not an actual service dog the dog has no rights and the gentleman will most definitely win. I think the airline needs to rethink how they seat people with a service animal. They should be located so they can sit alone unless someone volunteers to sit next to the dog.

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Mark Smith September 1, 2019 at 8:44 am

If they moved a blind person with a service dog… It was be discrimination against someone with disabilities. Don’t paint everyone with the same brush. I know people abuse the support animal thing…. But the people that don’t abuse it should not be punished for the ones that do.

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Derrick Hodges September 1, 2019 at 9:21 am

First it was back if the bus , now it’s back of the plane , i can see where the insult is insinuated

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Dare Me September 1, 2019 at 10:22 am

For those who jump at the “law” regarding this accommodation need to read the entire law. Support animals are to be accommodated with some allowable exceptions. One is disallowing if it “would pose a direct threat to the health and safety of other passengers.” Passengers rights supercede the accommodation here and removing race as some wish we could they would still be in violation of the very law used to excuse them.

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Cyndie September 3, 2019 at 11:00 am

I’m allergic to dogs, cats and so much else. I think it is wrong to compromise people when traveling this way for people’s pets. Why can’t airlines have a section in a plan for people to travel with their animals? They have a business class, first class, economy class, etc.

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DIane September 3, 2019 at 3:50 pm

an animal always has more rights than a Black Person. Blacks are not seen as human

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