Medora Clai Reading, 68, of Palm City, Florida, United States is suing Southwest Airlines for $10 million. Representing her is Kristina Heuser of New York, USA, who filed the lawsuit in federal court in Brooklyn, New York City, New York on January 18, 2022.
On January 7, 2021, Reading was supposed to take a Southwest Airlines flight from Washington, D.C., USA to Palm Beach, Florida, USA. According to her, when she bought the ticket for the flight, she notified the booking agent that she is required to constantly drink water because she suffers severe hypoglycemia and claustrophobia.
Reading claims that she told the agent she would need a medical accommodation for the flight as her disabilities are triggered by wearing a face covering. She claims that when she slipped her mask below her chin to drink after she boarded the flight, she was harshly reprimanded by a flight attendant.
The incident allegedly escalated to a heated exchange between Reading and the flight attendant and ended with a gate attendant ordering the elderly woman from Florida off the flight. The plaintiff also accused an unmasked pilot of laughing mockingly while she was exiting the aircraft.
Southwest Airlines has yet to release a statement about the lawsuit. The names of the flight attendant, the pilot and two gate officials who were named as defendants were not immediately released.
Aside from Palm City, Reading has lived in other parts of Florida including Citrus Springs, Palm Beach Gardens, Coral Gables and Miami. She previously lived in Kingston, New York and in Henrico, Virginia, USA.
Reading worked as an advertising and media representative and a part-time real-estate representative in Kingston, New York from 1979 to 1989. In 2006, she became the president of Group 1 Distribution, Inc. in Palm City.
Southwest Airlines is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, USA. In 1967, Herb Kelleher and Rollin King established the airline as Air Southwest, which was renamed Southwest Airlines in 1971.
In 1979, Southwest Airlines started regional interstate service. Currently, the airline serves 45 airports in 45 U.S. states.