Father of boy forced off plane as passengers applauded dies

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The father of an Arizona boy who made news when passengers applauded as he was removed from a plane after having an allergic reaction, has died.

George Alvarado, who had been battling esophageal cancer, died at a hospice facility Thursday, his wife Christina Fabian told the Associated Press.

Last month, the couple took their 7-year-old son Giovanni on a trip to Washington State, something Alvarado had on his bucket list. After boarding the Allegiant Flight 171 back to Phoenix, however, Giovanni had an allergic reaction to a passenger’s service dog.

“He began to get very itchy,” Fabian told King 5 News in Washington. “He was scratching all over and he started to get hives. So we informed the flight attendant, who informed us that, ‘Well, there’s dogs on every flight,’ and just smirked. . .”

The family moved to different seats, away from the service dog, but airport medical services decided that it was not safe for Giovanni to fly, and the family was asked to deplane and take the next available flight.

Fabian later told reporters that she didn't blame the airline for the incident, but said the reaction of the other passengers as they gathered their things and got off the flight shook her – she said the rest of the crowd began applauding.

Fabian posted this message on Facebook:

"What crushed us was that our 7 yr old boy looked at us with tear filled eyes and said, "I'm sorry that I put you through this. This is all my fault" then he proceeded to say, "I can't believe that people clapped. They shouldn't do that because they never know who already has sadness in their hearts."