An Iowa family was declined passage onto a Southwest Airlines flight on the grounds that their autistic 5-year-old child couldn’t wear a face mask, a report said.
Cody and Paige Petek and their two children were in St. Louis for a corresponding flight home to the Des Moines International Airport on Sunday when they were dismissed, KCCI revealed.
Prior to boarding the plane, the family’s child, who is non-verbal, has mental imbalance and a tactile handling issue, was having issues with his face mask, the family told the news source.
Another traveler boarding a similar flight who saw the experience said different passengers were urging the flight group to allow the kid to board. However, the staff declined.
“He simply wasn’t having it and having a tantrum,” Dr. Vince Hassel told the news station. “Just to watch this play out was totally shocking.”
Southwest Airlines, in an articulation to the power source, said government law requires passengers ages 2 and up to wear a mask while voyaging.
Under Transportation Security Administration policy, travelers with inabilities who can’t wear a mask because of their condition are not needed to, as per the report.
The carrier said the kid didn’t have a face mask exception.
“Southwest Airlines considers applications for exclusions from this mask necessity from passengers with an inability who can’t wear a mask, or who can’t safely wear a mask as a result of the handicap,” the organization said in its assertion to KCCI.
“For this situation, a traveler was not wearing a face covering preceding boarding and didn’t have an exclusion to the government mask mandate,” the assertion said.
The carrier said it offered to place the family in an inn Sunday night with another flight Monday “to permit them extra an ideal opportunity to go along.”
Yet, the family acknowledged a discount and picked to commute home all things considered, the report said.
The family’s legal counselor, Anthony Marchetti Jr, said the carrier may have abused the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“There’s reasonable direction from the department of transportation about what the carrier ought to do,” Marchetti told the power source. “None of that occurred here.”