Sisters kicked off Allegiant Air flight, miss father's final moments

Fellow passenger takes to social media to express concern

DeLAND, Fla. – Two sisters said they were humiliated after Allegiant Air kicked them off their flight claiming they were a threat.

"I just wanted to see my dad," said Debbie Hartman, who, along with her sister, Trisha Baker, missed being with their father for his final moments.

Hartman and Baker were on their way from Sanford, Florida, to Asheville, North Carolina, to visit their sick father, who was in hospice care Monday. 

While the plane was waiting to leave the tarmac, Hartman's sister got a text message that their father only had hours to live.

"I didn't know if my sister was getting the same text and (I) was I thinking, 'I need to go back and tell her,'" Baker said.

Baker said once she got up to tell her sister, a flight attendant stepped in.

"She said, 'You need to sit down' and I said, 'Well, can I just sit here? I just want to console my sister. We just got word that my dad's dying,'" Baker said.

Hartman said she started having a panic attack and the situation escalated after Baker confronted the flight attendant for not being compassionate.

"(My sister) said (to the flight attendant), 'You're being very rude. My father is dying, and I'm comforting her,' and they said she needed to keep her personal problems off the plane," Hartman said.

Minutes later, the sisters said the flight attendant called the captain, the plane turned around and airport security escorted them off the flight.

"People were like, 'What's going on?'" Hartman said.

One passenger complained about the situation and posted her reaction on YouTube.

"That was the most inhumane, deplorable thing I've ever seen any human being do," the passenger said.

Hartman said their father died shortly after and she wants the airline to be held accountable.

"I would like to see them in some way be punished in a way where people understand. This is not humane. One-hundred thousand percent I blame them. They were the gate between keeping me from my father to say goodbye," Hartman said.

News 6 emailed Allegiant Air and the airline said it is investigating.

The airline released the following statement:

"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. "

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About the Author:

Loren Korn is a native Texan who joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2014. She was born and raised in Houston and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Journalism.