A 7-year-old boy on a "bucket list" trip with his terminally ill father was heartbroken after his family were removed from a flight to the sound of applause after the youngster suffered an allergic reaction.
Giovanni Alvarado had been to visit family in Bellingham, Washington, with his father George Alvarado, who has stage four throat cancer and not much longer to live, and his mother Christina.
They were heading home to Phoenix, Arizona, when Giovanni suffered an allergic reaction to a dog on board the plane and broke out in hives, causing the Allegiant flight to be delayed on Monday.
The boy began scratching all over and his reaction delayed take-off. Around 90 minutes later, the family were asked to get off the plane.
In a Facebook post, Christina Alvarado branded the behaviour of the passengers "disgusting".
She said: "We are not angry that we were deplaned. In fact, my husband and I appreciate that our son is safe."
"Instead of diffusing the situation, you added insult to injury and perpetuated the attitudes of other passengers."
She added that as a result of the incident, the family were forced to spend hundreds of dollars on unforeseen expenses and now need to reschedule this week's chemotherapy treatments for her husband.
The family eventually made it home late on Wednesday evening after catching the next available flight with the carrier.
She added: "What crushed us was that our 7-year-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 people clapped. They shouldn't do that because they never know who already has sadness in their hearts'."
"He was making memories with his father. Memories that you have now become part of.
"He will never forget that you clapped as he deboarded that plane. Thank you for your insulting, ignorant, insinuating comments that minimised my son's experience and make a horrible memory at the end of my husband's life.
"Shame on you for being so cruel. What would you have done if he had stayed silent and died on that flight?"
She added that she was not sure why her son had such a severe reaction, but attributed it to the "immense amount of stress" he has suffered lately.
"He has been forced to helplessly witness terminal cancer ravish through his father's body [sic]," she added.
Giovanni's mother also blasted a flight attendant who "hastily smirked" and informed her that there are dogs on every flight.
Giovanni's mother shared a picture of their view out of an airplane window as they approached Phoenix. "Hello Phoenix! We missed you," she captioned the picture.
But while waiting for the next flight home, the family spoke out in a bid to turn their unhappy experience into a lesson for everyone.
George Alvarado added that people do not know how much time another person has left to live or whether they are hurting internally.
"Just be nice," he said. "Be kind."
An Allegiant spokeswoman told Daily Mail Online that she was not able to confirm whether or not passengers on board the plane applauded as the Alvarado family left the flight.
She said the airline has been in contact with the family and apologised to the Alvarado family for their negative experience - and added that they were only asked to leave after staff contacted a medical professional for advice.
"We are truly sorry for the unfortunate circumstances surrounding their planned itinerary and for the inconvenience they have experienced as a result," she said.
The spokesman said the crew had followed the company's standard protocol when it came to passengers suffering a medical problem on board and consulted a third party about whether Giovanni should fly.
"In instances where passengers become ill or experience other medical issues, Allegiant, like many major air carriers, works with a third party organisation to make decisions to ensure the safety of passenger in question.
"This third party team includes medical doctors who are available 24 hours a day to provide guidance to our ground and in-flight crew members.
"Based on the advice of the third party physician, decisions are made about whether or not it is the safest course of action to allow a passenger to continue on board."
She said that crew on board Flight 171 contacted a doctor, who advised the child should not travel at that time to ensure the "highest level of safety for that passenger".
The family boarded the next available flight to Phoenix, she said, which departed at 6.20pm and arrived in Phoenix at 11.06pm on Wednesday.
"Additionally, we have forwarded the family's feedback on to the appropriate teams within the company to ensure any necessary service improvements will be made,' she said.