COUPEVILLE, Wash. — The father of a child asked to leave a plane because of an allergic reaction has died.
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Christina Fabian, mother of 7-year-old Giovanni, told KING-TV Thursday that Giovanni’s father, George Alvarado, died after a battle with esophageal cancer.
On Feb. 24, passengers on a Bellingham, Wash., To Mesa, Ariz., Flight on Allegiant Air applauded when the Goodyear, Ariz., Family was escorted off the plane before takeoff.
Boy removed from plane over allergies, passengers applaud.
The passengers didn’t know that the family’s “bucket list” trip to the Northwest had been taken to build memories as Alvarado fought his fatal illness.
A service animal triggered Giovanni’s allergic reaction and after flight attendants consulted with the airline’s on-call doctor, the family was asked to leave the plane, according to Allegiant airline spokeswoman Kim Schaefer.
“We understood,” Fabian said at the time. “They helped us off the plane, but as we gathered our stuff the people toward the back of the plane clapped.”.
Airline passenger contradicts applause reports: It wasn’t ‘anything against them’.
Giovanni said he was “sad that this has to be a memory with my dad.”.
“People who don’t have sadness, they don’t understand,” he said.
Alvarado told KING-TV that “as a dad, I was just hopeless right there. I just looked at the people clapping. I was just shaking my head. I was like, ‘Man lets get out of here.'”.
Two passengers on the flight said applause from other passengers was minimal, short-lived and did not appear to be malicious.
They also said Allegiant’s crew handled the family’s medical emergency professionally.
Carole Burton and Janet VanderYacht, who live in Washington and visit Mesa frequently, told The Arizona Republic they were dismayed at widespread media reports painting the passengers as cold-hearted travelers peeved that their already-delayed flight was being further delayed by a 7-year-old boy with an allergic reaction.
Schaefer said the airline worked with the family to get them on another flight and said the company was “sorry for the circumstances under which this family was traveling.”.
Upon his return to Arizona, Alvarado said he didn’t want people to feel sorry for him. Rather, he wanted the ordeal to serve as a reminder: “Have respect for others because you never know what someone is going through.”.
Contributing: Natalie Swaby and Jake Whittenberg, KING-TV.