For the second time in three days, Southwest Airlines kicked a family off a plane because their young child with a disorder had trouble with his facemask – but this family was given the boot before anything ever happened.
Caroline Scott told Southwest in advance of their Friday flight that their 3-year-old son Orion has a sensory processing disorder and might take his mask off, even showing them notes from a doctor and an occupational therapist, FOX Denver reported.
They were buckled in for their five-hour flight from Colorado to Florida when a Southwest employee said they had to get off the plane because ‘the captain doesn’t feel comfortable with you on it,’ Scott told the Denver news station.
‘We were not de-boarded for behaviors, but preemptively in case he might take off his mask, and he’s also three,’ Scott said.
‘It’s not ok. There was no empathy. There was no understanding. We were just humiliated. It was traumatizing and humiliating.’
Scroll down for video
Southwest Airlines kicked Orion Scott, 3, who has a sensory processing disorder, and his family off a plane on Friday because Orion might take his mask off
The Scott family was buckled in for their five-hour flight from Colorado to Florida when they were told to de-board
Orion’s mom claimed a Southwest employee told her family: ‘The captain doesn’t feel comfortable with you on it’
Caroline Scott, Orion’s mom, said she tried to do the right thing by telling Southwest Airlines about her son’s disorder, showing them doctor notes, but feels she was punished for it
The Scott family was forced to book a last-minute flight on United Airlines for $1,700 the next day, according to FOX Denver.
‘We thought we were doing the right thing and for being forefront and honest, we were punished for it,’ Caroline Scott said.
On Sunday, the Petek family had a nearly identical run in with Southwest Airlines.
The Iowa family wasn’t allowed on their connecting flight from St. Louis to Iowa because their 5-year-old son, who is nonverbal and has autism and a sensory processing disorder, was struggling to wear his mask, KCCI reported.
Vince Hassel, who was also flying back to Des Moines, told KCCI that other passengers fought to get the boy and his family on board.
‘He just wasn’t having it and throwing a fit. Just to watch this play out was absolutely horrible,’ Hassel said.
The young boy had a seizure during the struggle, according to KCCI, and the Petek family ultimately had to drive nearly six hours in a rental car.
In prepared statements, South Airlines essentially said they followed federal mandates.
That is ‘is corporate gobbledygook,’ Anthony L. Marchetti, a lawyer representing the Petek family, told DailyMail.com, and alluded to the TSA policy that says people with disabilities who cannot wear a mask are exempt.
The New Jersey Civil Trial lawyer said the Department of Transportation allowed carriers, such as Southwest, to set up their own processes on how to address mask mandates.
The issue, Marchetti said, is the mandates are not clearly defined like change fees and seat requirements.
‘Masks have been a political issue. This should not be,’ Marchetti told DailyMail.com ‘Advance notice requirements don’t work, because you are in a position in which, like the Colorado family, a crew member can just decide they do not want to fly with someone with a disability – which basically flies right in the face of the Airline Carrier Access Act’s guarantee that our nation’s airways be equally open to those with disabilities.’
Marchetti stressed that neither of these situations should’ve happened but it’s likely going to become more frequent as the country reopens and families fly to vacation spots.
‘More and more of these situations happen where there is chaos at the airport gate because an unempathetic gate agent, who isn’t even following the mask rules herself, decides to ignore the CDC’s directive that those with disabilities are exempted from the mask mandate,’ he said. ‘It does not need to be this way.’
Three days after the Scott family’s incident, the Petek family, whose five-year-old son is nonverbal and has autism and a sensory processing disorder, was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight because he was struggling with his mask
The Petek family was on their way from St. Louis to their home in Iowa when Southwest Airlines told them they had to de-board
Southwest provided the following statement to The FOX31 Problem Solvers about the Scott family’s situation:
‘Southwest Airlines regrets any inconvenience this family experienced while traveling, and our Customer Relations Team is contacting the family directly regarding their experience. Southwest Employees are working each day to ensure the requirements of the federal mask mandate with sensitivity during these challenging times. We appreciate the ongoing understanding and cooperation among our Customers and Employees as we work collectively to support the comfort and wellbeing of all who travel with us during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.’
Southwest Airlines issued a statement in both cases saying they ‘regret any inconveniences’ but they were following federal law
They issued a similar statement to KCCI after Sunday’s issue involving the Petek family:
‘While we regret any inconvenience this family experienced while traveling, federal law requires each person, 2 years of age and older, to wear a mask at all times throughout the travel journey … To assist travelers with disabilities, there is a narrow exception to the mask mandate for specific types of disabilities that prevent a person from wearing a mask.
‘Southwest Airlines considers applications for exemptions from this mask requirement from passengers with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or who cannot safely wear a mask because of the disability… In this case, a traveler was not wearing a face covering prior to boarding and did not have an exemption to the federal mask mandate.
‘Southwest Employees tried to assist the family by encouraging the child’s face covering be placed over the mouth and nose. Once the family was unable to meet the federal requirement, Southwest offered the family a hotel for the night and to rebook them on a flight today to allow them additional time to comply. Instead, the family chose not to fly and was granted a full refund.
‘It’s the responsibility of Southwest employees to enforce federal regulations. As always, we appreciate the spirit of compliance to the federal mask mandate and the ongoing cooperation among our customers and employees as we work collectively to support the comfort and wellbeing of all who travel with us during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.’
#Southwest #Airlines #boots #family #year #disorder #mask