A woman traveling from Fort Myers, Florida, to Chicago said she was escorted off her Southwest Airline flight on Saturday because her 2-year-old son was snacking prior to takeoff and wasn’t wearing his mask.
Jodi Degyansky, 34, wants airlines to have more compassion for parents who have toddlers that might have difficulty donning their masks for a long time. “We are trying to get used to it, but he’s 2,” Degyansky said.
Degyansky said she flew to Florida to visit her family in Naples. On her arrival flight to Southwest Florida International Airport, the flight attendants were much more understanding, she said.
“On the way back I was surprised the flight attendants were much stricter,” Degyansky said.
Degyansky said she boarded the flight with her son, Hayes Jarboe, and he took off his mask to eat some of the snacks that were served. On multiple occasions, a flight attendant told her that he needed to be masked, but he was eating, she said. The plane had already left the gate, but returned for staff to escort them off the flight. For about 15 minutes, Degyansky argued with airline personnel because her son had his mask back on, but they did not listen to her, she said.
According to CDC guidelines, children 2 years and older should wear a mask over their nose and mouth if its difficult to social distance.
“My toddler who literally turned 2 two weeks ago. … I know you have to draw the line but let’s be a little compassionate with everyone’s individual circumstances,” she said.
Degyansky said a flight attendant told her that parents were using snacks and chips as an excuse to not put masks on their toddlers.
She said it was humiliating to have the plane return to the gate so she could be escorted off. According to her, the airline offered to find her another flight for later in the day, but none were direct to Chicago. The next direct flight was on Monday, she said.
Instead, she booked a flight on American Airlines, but it cost her $600.