Woman with special needs wheeled off Allegiant plane while sleeping

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A woman who suffers from COPD claims she was wheeled off an Allegiant Airline flight because she fell asleep.

Roxanne Raynes, 52, was scheduled to fly out of PIE Tuesday morning and expected to arrive in Bangor, Maine a few hours later.

Raynes was moving back to Maine to live with family.

Because she suffers from severe COPD, was traveling with an oxygen tank and her two cats. It took staff at the hospice nearly a month to book all the necessities for the flight.

“They had everything set up,” said Raynes.

Raynes was escorted by Suncoast Hospice Care Center Mid-Pinellas workers Tuesday to the airport, who helped her get on the plane.

She said after the hospice workers left, the flight attendant questioned if she was fit to be on the plane.

“Are you sure you’re okay? I said, yes, I told you I’m tired. I took a Xanax and I’m anxious and I just feel asleep and I haven’t been on a plane since 1976,” said Raynes. “I’m just really anxious here and I’m going home.”

Raynes said a doctor prescribed the Xanax to relax her. She said most of the conversation with the attendants was foggy, but was nothing wrong with her. She said moments later, she was being wheeled off the plane.

“Then the next thing I know they’re up their talking and all of a sudden, well you’re going to have to get off the plane,” said Raynes.

She said she was devastated and didn’t understand why.

“Showed them all the paperwork,” She said. “I was quite embarrassed.”

Hilarie Grey, a spokeswoman for Allegiant Airlines said Med Link was called and determined Raynes could not fly.

“In this case, really, it all boils down to an abundancy of concern for Ms. Raynes. That that flight attendant was going to do everything in their power to make sure Ms. Raynes didn’t have a medical issue in flight.”

Grey said flight attendants followed the proper protocol.

“Ms. Raynes was traveling with an oxygen concentrator. The flight attendant on board inquired about that letter that was on a hospice letter head and after their interaction. The flight attendant was uncomfortable and felt there was a medical safety concern,” said Grey.

The spokeswoman said Allegiant employees stayed with Raynes to rebook her flight and escorted her outside the terminal to smoke.

She added that agents made three announcements over the intercom, looking for Raynes’s care takers.

Hospice workers said they received a call 40 minutes later that Raynes was at PIE.

Grey said Allegiant Airlines understands Raynes’s frustration, but felt her safety was an issue.

Raynes flight is re-booked for Thursday morning.

Allegiant Airlines made arrangements for a care taker to fly with her, just in case.

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