A mother and her young son were kicked off an American Airlines flight earlier this week after the 2-year-old, who has asthma, was reportedly unable to comply with the airline’s mask mandate.
According to a now-expired Instagram story, that was also reposted by a friend on Twitter, Amanda Pendarvis said her son was hyperventilating and despite showing a flight attendant her son’s negative COVID test, the flight was turned around and the pair along with Pendarvis’ mother were escorted off, according to National File.
Based on Pendarvis’ account, and images from the incident posted to social media, the party was met with what appears to be police.
“On Sept. 13, American Airlines flight 1284 returned to the gate prior to departure from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to deplane a party refusing to comply with crew member instructions to remain seated while on an active taxiway and to wear face coverings securely over their nose and mouth,” Curtis Blessing, a spokesperson for American Airlines told Newsweek in an email. “After agreeing to adhere to policies instituted for the safety of our customers and crew, all individuals were rebooked for travel on the next flight to Colorado Springs (COS).”
Blessing said after the party was deplaned, they were met by the “Customer Care team.”
Pendarvis described the incident on her Instagram story as “the most humiliating/traumatizing experience” and said the flight attendant got on the intercom to tell other passengers “I’m sorry for the delay but we are dealing with a non-compliant traveler.”
Blessing says that “at no time was it made known to our crew members that a member of the party was experiencing an asthma attack.”
“In accordance with directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), American requires all individuals two and older to wear a face covering at all times while indoors at the airport and on board,” Blessing said. “Limited exemptions to the face covering requirement may be granted to individuals with disabilities who make a request to our Special Assistance team at least 72 hours prior to departure.”
These exemptions would require documentation from a licensed health care provider in addition to a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure — or proof of recovery from the virus, according to the airline.
Pendarvis said in the Instagram story, that she was not refusing a mask “nor did I even say I wouldn’t try to keep a mask on my son.”
Pendarvis was contacted for comment but did not respond in time for publication.
In July, a teenager with Autism and his parents deplaned a Southwest flight from St. Louis to Long Beach, CA after being told the 17-year-old needed to wear a mask — despite documentation to support otherwise, as previously reported by Newsweek.
LaShaunda Jethro, the boy’s mother, told St. Louis-based KMOV-TV that she had a doctor’s note prepared for her son, who she said is nonverbal, and proof of his vaccination.
As school has started to reopen around the country there is a growing concern for COVID-19 infections in children especially with the new, more contagious, Delta variant.
From September 2-9, 243,373 children tested positive for COVID-19—which the American Academy of Pediatrics said was the second-highest number of child cases in a week since the pandemic began. As of September 9, around 5.3 million children have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began, as previously reported by Newsweek.