In what could be best described as a bizarre incident, a 175-pound man was reportedly “forcibly removed” along with another passenger because the American Airlines aircraft they were in had exceeded its maximum takeoff weight. According to a report by ABC7 Chicago, the man who was evicted from the plane was identified as Dan Nykaza, a dentist based out of Wilmette, Illinois.
According to a Fox News report, Dan Nykaza was on board an American Airlines “Envoy” regional flight from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Salt Lake City and was inside the aircraft, buckled up for nearly 20-30 minutes when he was approached by a flight attendant who told him he would have to get off the plane. When he asked for a reason, the flight attendant told him that the aircraft had exceeded the maximum takeoff weight allowed for the aircraft and that asking two passengers to deboard the flight was one of the ways in which they could reduce the weight. When asked about the reason why he and the other passengers were picked to be deplaned, allegedly, he was told that no one else was willing to accept a voucher that the airline was offering them. Since he and the other passenger were the last ones to check in, the Airline decided they were the “chosen ones.” Nykaza, however, refuses to believe that.
“I don’t think so, there was probably a total of 300 pounds taken off the plane between me and the other gentleman who was a little smaller than me,” Nykaza said.
Describing the incident, Nykaza talks about his reaction when the flight attendant told him he would need to get off the plane.
“And I’m like ‘Why?’ Because there was too much weight on the plane and nobody would take the voucher they were offering. So they chose two people, me being one of them.”
Nykaza says he is an American Airlines platinum status member and was certainly not amused at the airline’s decision to boot him off the plane. He did not even bother to take a $200 voucher that was given to him by the airline. He adds that he missed a great weekend with his family.
“So I missed the entire weekend. My nephew was there, my daughter, it was sad. I was in shock, I didn’t sleep that night, I was kinda numb all first day or two.”
According to experts, incidents like these often happen on flights across the world, airline expert Brian Sumers told ABC News.
“Every airplane has maximum take-off weight. They can’t take off if they are any heavier than that.”
He adds that different airlines have different policies in which they deal with situations like these while adding that the Airlines as much as possible try not to disrupt their passenger’s travel schedules. Asking a passenger to deboard is usually done as a last resort.
“Most airlines remove people there is a pretty simple reason for it – you have to remember you may have to take 10 bags off of a flight and then there will be 10 people will get to a destination and realize they don’t have laptops or medicine or whatever and you will annoy 10 people at the last minute.”
In order to avoid ending up in a situation like this, Sumers offers a free tip as well. He suggests that people should book their tickets in advance and check in as early as possible. It would also be advisable to assign yourself a seat before you check in.
Meanwhile, an unhappy Nykaza said he sent an email to American Airlines describing the incident and hasn’t received a reply yet.
“I haven’t heard anything and it’s been a week,” he said.
When contacted by ABC News, a spokesperson from American Airlines confirmed the incident did happen and added that the Airline issued an apology to the affected passengers. He added that Nykaza was given a $500 voucher and 15,000 miles. He also added that the “Envoy” crew did not follow proper policy and should have removed passengers who had booked last instead of those who checked in last.