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Airline grounds country singer after 'great time' in Vegas

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 12:00 PM EST, Tue December 6, 2011
Country singer John Rich was taken off a Southwest Airlines flight, the airline reported.
Country singer John Rich was taken off a Southwest Airlines flight, the airline reported.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • John Rich is escorted off Southwest flight at Las Vegas airport
  • Crew says Big & Rich singer "was not fit for travel," airline spokeswoman says
  • Singer's spokeswoman: "Did John Rich have a great time with his fans in Vegas? Yes. "
  • Rich spokeswoman denies there was a fight with another passenger

(CNN) -- Country music artist John Rich had such a great time in Las Vegas that he was not fit to fly home to Nashville on Sunday, according to Southwest Airlines.

Rich, 37, was escorted off a Southwest flight before it took off from Las Vegas Sunday night, airline spokeswoman Christi McNeill said Monday.

"Our crew assessed the situation and determined that the passenger was not fit for travel," McNeill said.

It was not clear what led to Rich's getting booted from the plane, but the singer's spokeswoman Tree Paine denied online reports that he was involved in a fight with another passenger.

"Did John Rich have a great time with his fans in Vegas? Yes. Was there an altercation? Absolutely not," a statement said.

Southwest gave Rich -- of the band Big & Rich -- and a fellow traveler a refund and they found alternative travel arrangements to Nashville, the airline spokeswoman said.

"Our employees are responsible for the safety and comfort of everyone on board a flight," McNeill said. "If we can mitigate an uncomfortable situation prior to departure, it is our preference to do so, and that is what happened in this scenario."

CNN's Denise Quan contributed to this report.

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