Woman has allergic reaction to dog on plane at Oakland Airport

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- If you traveled by air over the holidays you may have noticed some furry passengers getting on planes.

This past Thursday at Oakland International Airport, Erskine Patton was a passenger on Alaska Airlines flight 335 to Seattle.

"As I was boarding I noticed that a woman was breathing uneasily," said Patton.

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That passenger seated near a dog was having an asthma attack. Airport Ops called for help.

"I was just concerned for this woman," said Patton.

Patton tweeted "@AlaskaAir "Why are dogs allowed on board when allergy risk is possible? We don't know the status of this poor woman and many passengers will miss their connections."

@AlaskaAir tweeted back, "Oh no! Unfortunately, we simply cannot guarantee animals will not be on board as many are service animals."

In an emailed statement to ABC7 News, Alaska Airlines writes, "If a passenger is allergic to pets, our policy is to move the pet and its owner to the back of the aircraft, which is what happened in this case."

"We typically don't experience a situation of removing another passenger, as we're able to resolve the situation by separating the animals from a person with an allergy," a spokesperson also wrote.

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The woman was evaluated by medics and returned to the plane at her original seat. Alaska Airlines says the delay was caused by a small unrelated maintenance issue.

"(The flight) departed at 8:37 pm, 47 minutes late, though 10 minutes of that was due to the late-arriving plane from an earlier flight. The actual 37 minute delay was due to a small maintenance issue and not the situation...," wrote an Alaska Airlines spokesperson.

The spokesperson says the plane landed in Seattle at 10:47 pm, 46 minutes late.

"Most were understanding but also annoyed with the delay," said Patton.

Patton says he wishes airlines would notify passengers ahead of time if an animal will be on board.

A spokesperson with Oakland International Airport says policies regarding traveling with pets vary depending on the individual airline.

Alaska Airlines says it follows strict Department of Transportation guidelines that prohibit them from limiting service or emotional support animals.

They also have a limit on other pets they allow customers to bring in the cabin, one in first class and five in the main cabin.
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