MESA, AZ - A Valley family said they're happy to be back in Arizona after being kicked off an Allegiant Air flight from Washington state to Mesa.
Jorge Alvarado said his 7-year-old son Giovanni started having an allergic reaction to a dog on the plane while boarding. Alvarado says the flight attendant moved him and the boy to the back of the plane to get away from the animal but were ultimately kicked off the plane.
A representative from Allegiant said they made the decision to ask the family to leave the flight at the advice of their on-call doctor because of the child's allergic reaction to the service dog. Allegiant says it stands by the decision because they wanted to ensure the boy's safety.
The statement from Allegiant read in part:
"The safety of our passengers is our most important priority regardless of the circumstances. We are sorry for the circumstances under which this family was traveling, and we regret that this family had a negative experience and that they were inconvenienced. We worked diligently with the family to get them on the next available flight and get them safely to their destination as soon as possible."
The family said they believe a flight attendant, who was making snide remarks, egged on some of the passengers who then applauded as the family walked off the plane.
What passengers didn't know was that Alvarado has terminal cancer and was making the trip to see family. He said he's not sure how long he has left.
"I'm sad this has to be a memory of my dad," Giovanni said. "Clapping on the plane when he got off."
The family says the dog's owner refused to move and feels everyone's reaction is a slap in the face.
"I felt hopeless when everyone just started laughing at my family, my kids," Alvarado said. "I felt, what could a husband do? I'm not going to yell at them. I'm just going to show them how to have respect."
Something good did come out of the ordeal. Southwest Airlines Vacations is giving the family a four day, three night stay at Disneyland!
The family said they're in contact with Allegiant Air, but said they don't want any compensation for the whole ordeal.