By Eric M. Johnson
SEATTLE (Reuters) - A boy on a vacation with his dying father was back home in Arizona on Thursday, days after the 7-year-old suffered a dog allergy attack and the family was removed from a flight home to applause from passengers, his mother said.
The trio was at the tail end of a bucket-list vacation to the U.S. Northwest so the boy's father, George, who has terminal throat cancer, could visit family, when the child suffered a severe allergy attack from being near a dog brought on the plane, she said.
"Shame on you for being so cruel," Christina Alvarado wrote on Facebook after her family was taken off a Monday flight from Bellingham, Washington to the Phoenix area.
She told local broadcaster KING5 that her son, Giovanni, broke out in hives and began scratching soon after the family boarded the flight.
The family alerted a flight attendant, who "smirked" and said that dogs are on every flight, Alvarado wrote on Facebook. As the family left, a number of the 151 passengers onboard the Airbus 319 applauded, she said.
Allegiant Air, the subsidiary of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Company that operated the flight on which the family was traveling, said in a statement that the family was told to leave the plane and rescheduled over safety concerns for the boy.
The company said it apologized to the family for the inconvenience and booked them on a new flight that landed at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport late on Wednesday.
The family is not seeking compensation from the airline, Phoenix broadcaster ABC15 reported. But Alvarado said the incident forced them to reschedule his cancer treatments and ruined what could be one of their last family trips.
"I am sad this has to be a memory with my dad," Giovanni told KING5.
Chris Janelli, Executive Director for the Center for Canine Behavior Studies in Connecticut said the incident might be indicative of the relationship people have with their pet companions.
"Perhaps the stewardess and the passengers were saying, dogs have as much a right to fly as somebody who is allergic to them," Janelli said.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Alistair Bell)