A Texas woman says that she was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight Monday after her 3-year-old son with autism would not wear a face mask, in violation of the airline’s COVID-19 policy.
Houston resident Alyssa Sadler says that her Southwest flight from Midland, Texas, to Houston returned to the gate when her son refused to wear the protective mask. Her family, including her 1-year-old daughter, was asked to exit the plane.
“When you get kicked off your flight because your 3 year old autistic child won’t wear a mask,” Sadler wrote on Facebook. “Looks like I’m stuck here in midland.”
Sadler told local TV station KPRC that her son has a sensory processing disorder and does not like to have his face touched. She said she had a note from the boy’s doctor about his condition.
“He was throwing a fit. He was screaming ‘No, no, no,’ ” Sadler said. “It was like, the mask is not going to work, he’s not going to wear a mask.”
Southwest Airlines’ COVID-19 tightened mask policy, enacted July 27, states that all passengers over age 2 must have proper face coverings while traveling. The rule is pointed out during the online booking, in a pre-trip email and during the check-in process.
“We communicate this policy to all customers at multiple touchpoints throughout the travel journey, so we regret any inconvenience this family experienced,” Southwest spokesperson Dan Landson said by email to USA TODAY. “If a customer is unable to wear a face covering for any reason, Southwest regrets that we are unable to transport the individual.”
The family will receive a full refund for the flight.