Woman says United Airlines kicked her off flight for being 'pungent'


She claimed in her suit that she was told that she was not allowed back on the flight because a passenger had complained about her smell, the Houston Chronicle reports.

United Airlines has been accused of discriminating against Obioma and her children because they were black.

A new civil rights lawsuit says that a United Airlines crew ejected a Nigerian woman and her two children from a flight on the basis of race, after complaints from a white passenger who had previously stolen the woman's seat.

But she wasn't allowed back on the flight, she said, and stood sobbing as employees removed her luggage and her children from the plane. Obioma boarded the plane and found a white male passenger sitting in her assigned business class seat. That passenger refused to move even after a United crew member asked him, and Obioma ultimately had to take a different seat in business class.

She had reportedly said "excuse me" 3 times, and eventually had to squeeze past several minutes later after the man refused to move out of the way.

Obioma, appalled at the situation, requested to have her children deplane as well so the family could be together. A United crew member identified in the suit as Russell H. nearly immediately ordered Obioma off the plane.

Shaken, Obioma needed her children removed out of the flight also, and the family made their connection 5 hours later. He told her the pilot had personally requested that she be ejected from the aircraft since the man who was sitting in her seat was not comfortable traveling next to her because she was "pungent".

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As she was putting her carry-on luggage away, Obiama noticed the man head to the cockpit, where he spoke with the pilot.

Obioma said she was distraught and informed personnel that her two children were still on the flight.

The trio were on their second leg of a three-flight journey to Ontario, Canada after they has flown from Lagos.

Obioma, a frequent flier member on the United's Star Alliances, said they were traveling from Houston to San Francisco where they were going to take a connecting flight to Canada.

"We have not yet been served on this specific lawsuit and thanks to this pending litigation involved within this thing, we're powerless to offer additional comment", spokesman for the airline stated, at a e-mailed statement.

Obioma's lawyer wants a jury trial in the case, which is seeking compensatory and punitive damages from United.