A mother, her husband, and their autistic, non-verbal 4-year-old were kicked off of Spirit Airlines because the child could not wear a mask, according to The Western Journal.
The airline refused to honor a note that confirms that he has a severe disability.
Callie Kimball shared that they flew from Little Rock, Arkansas to Las Vegas last Friday without any problems.
“He had a medical note from his physician stating that he’s exempt from wearing masks because whenever he wears a mask he holds his breath or he starts freaking out and he will harm himself,” Kimball said.
Kimball claims that the flight crew was less than sympathetic.
The flight crew even challenged autism as being a disability, according to Kimball.
He has a disability. It’s protected under the American Disability Act and they go ‘No no no no. Autism’s not a disability. He has to wear a mask or he has to get off the plane,’” she said.
Autistic Children are usually specifically fixated on certain things.
For 4-year-old Carter, his fixation is aviation.
“Kids on the spectrum, they’re usually very obsessed with something. He is obsessed with airplanes. So he was sitting in his seat being quietly and looking out the window, and this lady was like ‘Get off!’”
The babysitter that was traveling with the family was not allowed off of the plane.
“So we’re out all of our flights, a thousand bucks and we have a son who’s just so distraught now that he like threw all of his airplanes down,” she said. “I’ve never in my life, like being the parent of an autistic kid is really hard and I’ve never in my life experienced that kind of discrimination from someone.”
“We sympathize with families facing additional burdens while traveling, including those dealing with medical conditions. Like most airlines, Spirit Airlines started requiring face coverings in May 2020 with the only exemption being one for children under age 2,” Spirit Airlines said.
“We remind Guests of our face covering policy throughout the booking process, in a pre-trip email sent prior to departure, and in a required acknowledgement that is part of the check-in procedure.”
“Our existing policy does not provide for medical exemptions, regardless of diagnosis. Our Team Members explained this to a family traveling today, but never questioned anyone’s medical status in the process.”
From The Western Journal:
Spirit also said it was working to refund the family’s tickets.
As for Carter, his love for flying has taken a hit. Kimball said that after being thrown off the plane, Carter discarded his toy airplanes by throwing them on the ground.