Nigerian Woman Removed From United Airlines Flight Over “Pungent” Smell, Files Lawsuit

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A Nigerian woman named Queen Obioma filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against United Airlines Friday (May 11) because she and her two children were removed from their flight after a white passenger claimed  they way they smelled made him “uncomfortable.”

According to Obioma’s $75,000 lawsuit, her and her children were traveling to Houston on March 4, 2016, and while aboard a United Airlines flight she alleges they endured “unnecessary embarrassment” after a United Airlines employee demanded she leave the plane because her “pungent” odor made another passenger uncomfortable.

“United has no legitimate reason or justification to remove (Obioma) from the flight but for racial prejudice,” Obioma’s lawsuit explained before describing how the confrontation began. Per court papers, Obioma was completing the third leg of her 16-hour trip from Lagos, Nigeria to Ontario, Canada where her children attend boarding school. Yet, when she boarded her flight she saw a man sitting in her assigned seat. Despite asking him politely to move, Obioma claims the man ignored her and the flight crew resulting in Obioma being asked to take another seat. Later, she was told her “attention was required because someone was waiting to speak with her outside the aircraft.” Once outside, she was informed she was being removed from the plane because the white man complained to the pilot about her and her children’s presence.

“Ms. Obioma watched her minor children marched out of the aircraft like criminals, confused and perplexed and she slumped,” her documents state. “She sobbed uncontrollably for a long time.”

Obioma alleges she was not allowed to gather her carry-on luggage and was forced to wait five hours before catching another flight, causing complications and extra expenses with her trip.  Obioma says she was “wrongfully” ejected from the plane and “punished” because of race.