My son who is in the military stationed in Florida bought me a round-trip ticket from Youngstown to Sanford, Fla., via Allegiant, to depart Feb. 1 and return Feb. 15, 2013.
I have breathing issues and require oxygen to fly and he informed them of this when he purchased the ticket. No problem, they said. Get a note from doctor that you need it and get a window seat.
I got both. When they flew me there, no problem.
On Feb. 15, we went to the airport for the return flight, arriving there at 2 p.m. for a 5 p.m. departure. The 5 p.m. came at 7 p.m. I was allowed to board as far as the door but the seat they assigned me was not a window.
The flight attendant did not notice me carrying oxygen until I questioned the seat. She then told me to stand aside to let other passengers board, saying she needed to talk to the captain about it.
She disappeared into the cockpit and came back and told me to take my assigned seat. I did but she came back and said the captain wants to know why I have oxygen?
I have COPD. She went back to the captain and came back to tell me he needs to see proof that I know how to operate the tank. All I had was proof that I needed it, and that was in my suitcase checked in at the gate.
They held up plane further to get my bag and go through it only to tell me that was unacceptable and I would not be flying with them that night. They escorted me off the plane, back to a now mostly empty terminal to have a seat while someone got my luggage.
They didn't get it. I had to call my son to make a 90-mile trip back there to pick me up. No one asked if I had a way home, or needed help. I had to track down my own bag with medications in it. I spent the next day getting a hold of my doctor to give further reasons I had oxygen. After another 90-mile trip to the airport, I got home Monday night.
I am a 69-year-old great-grandmother, not a terrorist.
Sharon A. Mackey