United Airlines
A United Airlines passenger is suing the company because she says she was kicked off a flight due to her body odor. A Boeing 747 is pictured on Mar. 28 2007 in Washington, D.C. Paul J. Richards /AFP/Getty Images)

A Nigerian woman filed a discrimination lawsuit in Houston on Friday against United Airlines alleging that in March 2016 she and her family were removed from a flight for racially motivated reasons.

United Airlines staff had asked Queen Obioma and her two children to deplane from the flight from San Francisco to Houston because of an incident involving her and a white passenger, according to court documents obtained by the Houston Chronicle. Obioma and her children had begun their trip in Lagos, Nigeria, and were on their way to Ontario, Canada.

"We have not yet been served with this suit and due to the pending litigation involved in this matter, we’re unable to provide further comment," an airline spokesman said in a statement via email.

The lawsuit said the airline discriminated against Obioma because she is black. Obioma was a frequent flier on United’s Star Alliance program.

When her flight left Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Obioma came back to her business class seat where a white passenger had been occupying it, court documents said. When she asked him to get up, the man refused to move, she said.

That’s when flight personal intervened, which resulted in the man staying in the seat and Obioma agreeing to take another position nearby.

Just before the plane took off, Obioma said she returned to her seat from the restroom when the same man tried to prevent her from sitting down. A United Airlines staffer, identified in the documents as Russel H., then asked Obioma to exit the plane.

Subsequently, another staffer explained that the pilot asked the woman to leave the flight after the same man sitting near her complained and said she smelled "pungent," and that he felt uncomfortable, the lawsuit said.

Obioma and her children exited the plane and made their connecting flight five hours later.

Obioma is seeking punitive damages and lawyers fees.