A Nigerian woman, Queen Obioma with her children were kicked off a United Airlines flight after a white male passenger complained that she had a “pungent” odour.
This incident happened two years ago when Obioma and her two children were boarding a flight from Houston to San Francisco. The family had flown from Lagos, Nigeria, and were on the second leg of a three-flight journey to Ontario, Canada.
According to a lawsuit, which was filed on Friday in a federal court in Houston, Obioma saw that the male passenger had sat in her assigned seat in the business-class cabin. he passenger refused to vacate the seat, so a flight crew member, instead, asked Obioma to sit elsewhere in business class.
Later, just before takeoff, Obioma had gone to use the bathroom and on her way back to to her seat she again encountered the man. This time he was standing in the aisle and blocking her from getting to her seat.
She had reportedly said “excuse me” 3 times, and eventually had to squeeze past several minutes later after the man refused to move out of the way.
It was after she had sat down that a crew member told her to go outside the aircraft, and another United employee told her she was getting kicked out of the plane.
According to the lawsuit, the pilot had asked that Obioma be removed because the white man said her smell was “pungent.” The lawsuit read:
“Ms. Obioma watched her minor children marched out of the aircraft like criminals, confused and perplexed … She sobbed uncontrollably for a long time.”
United Airlines has been accused of discriminating against Obioma and her children because they were black.
The company has said it is unable to comment because it is a pending litigation and it has not been served with the lawsuit.