- A Nigerian woman is suing United Airlines after allegedly being kicked off a flight to San Francisco after a white passenger complained that she smelled bad.
- The federal lawsuit filed by Queen Obioma accuses United Airlines of engaging in racial discrimination and intentionally causing emotional distress.
- The incident occurred on March 4, 2016.
- The suit is seeking damages in excess of $US75,000.
A Nigerian woman has filed a lawsuit accusing United Airlines of racial discrimination after the passenger and her two children were removed from a flight after a confrontation with a white passenger, the Charlotte Observer reported.
The lawsuit claims that the woman, Queen Obioma, was kicked off a flight from Houston to San Francisco by United Airlines after an unnamed white male passenger allegedly complained to a pilot that her “pungent” odor made him uncomfortable to fly with her on the same plane.
“United does not tolerate discrimination of any kind and will investigate this matter,” the Chicago-based airline said in a statement to Business Insider. “We have not yet been served with this suit and due to the pending litigation involved, we’re unable to provide further comment.”
The federal suit, which was filed last Friday in the United States District for the Southern District of Texas, is seeking more than $US75,000 in damages.
According to court papers, the incident occurred on March 4, 2016, during a stopover in Houston. Obioma, who was connecting to San Francisco after a flight from Lagos, Nigeria, had just boarded the plane when she found a white male in her business class seat.
Obioma claims she politely notified the passenger that he was in her seat. However, the man ignored her and only moved at the request of a flight attendant.
The suit further states that the male passenger then got up and went to the cockpit. After the plaintiff got up to use the restroom, the man allegedly blocked the aisles and refused to let her get to her seat.
Shortly thereafter, a United Airlines crew member allegedly asked Obioma to deplane, telling her that the pilot personally requested her removal from the flight following the white passenger’s complaint.
Obioma and her children along with their luggage were removed from the flight and were forced to wait another five hours before continuing their trip to San Francisco.
Obioma claims United Airlines’ intentional discrimination resulted in “unbearable humiliation, mental anguish, and stigmatization.”
The lawsuit calls United’s behaviour “oppressive, despicable, and in conscious disregard of the civil rights of Plaintiff.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.