This week on Tuesday, a 16 year old girl was booted off a plane because she was coughing.
The incident occurred after the girl boarded a plane in Newark Airport with her classmates, after spending spring break in New York City. The girl named Rachel Collier and her classmates were returning home to Honolulu aboard a Continental Airlines flight when the incident occurred.
Prior to taking off Rachel, who had pick up a cold during her school trip feel asleep in her seat on the plane. The girl then woke up and was struggling to breath as she had a coughing fit when the plane began to head for the runway for take off. Rachel said, “Everyone was looking at me.” “I couldn’t talk because I lost my voice coughing so much. I was panicking.”
During the coughing incident Rachel was kindly given a glass of water by a flight attendant and a doctor also travelling on the plane checked on her condition and told her that everything was fine and she would be able to last the long 10-hour flight home.
However, the plane’s captain was not happy with the coughing and returned the plane to the gate. At the gate Rachel was asked to leave the aircraft and one of her chaperone teachers was taken off the plane with her. Rachel said that when the captain told her to leave the plane she began crying.
Fortunately, the following day Rachel and her teacher were able to board another flight and safely travel home to Honolulu.
Rachel’s chaperone, Maile Kawamure, was in total shock at the incident and was not sure what to do after they had been removed from the flight. The two eventually found somewhere to stay and somewhere they could purchase toiletries and clothes as their luggage was left on the plane.
When Continental Airlines was questioned about the incident they told the Associated Press that the girl was “coughing uncontrollably” and that “the captain felt he was acting in the best interest of the passenger and other passengers on the flight.”
The mother of Rachel, Stephanie Collier said, “I felt is was really extreme for a coughing fit. We’ve all had coughing fits.” Stephanie Collier also said the airline has agreed to refund Rachel’s expenses caused by the incident, include the cost of the hotel. She also said, “I’m frustrated. I’m really, really frustrated. Why they would do that, especially with two teachers escorting 40 children across the United States, and for the pilot to make that kind of decision.”
The students and Rachel’s teacher, Maile Kawamure, were returning from a school trip to Washington D.C. and New York City. Rachel was upset and embarrassed by the incident.