A Texas mom said her family was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight Monday because her three-year-old autistic son would not wear a mask.
“It was just not a good morning,” Alyssa Sadler said of the ordeal, according to Click2Houston.
She was trying to get back to Houston with her son and one-year-old daughter after visiting family in Midland when a crewmember allegedly said the flight would have to return to the gate because the boy would not keep his mask on.
“He was screaming. He was throwing a fit. He was screaming no, no, no,” Sadler recalled.
Because of her son’s sensory processing disorder, he did not like having his face touched. Even though Sadler had a note from their doctor about his condition, it did not make a difference, she claimed.
Children under the age of two are exempt from the mask rule, the airline’s website noted.
However, the site also detailed its rules about passengers unable to wear masks:
If a Customer is unable to wear a face covering for any reason (even a verifiable medical condition), we regret that we are unable to transport the Customer at this time, due to safety risk of asymptomatic COVID-19 transmission by Customers without face coverings.
In other words, because of public health guidance recognizing the important role of face coverings in preventing the transmission of COVID-19, Southwest will temporarily refuse to transport any passenger who is unable to wear a mask even if the Customer has a verifiable medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask.
In a statement following the incident, the airline said customers were informed of the policy during booking, in a pre-trip email, and during the check-in process, according to ABC 13.
Sadler had no problem with wearing a mask on the plane but said there should be an exception in certain situations.
“I think there needs to be something in place for children or even adults with disabilities who can’t wear a mask. They should have some kind of exemption,” she commented.
A family member reportedly drove Sadler and her children back to Houston on Thursday.