DENVER (KDVR) — A Northglenn family is furious after they say they were booted from a Southwest Airlines flight over fears their 3-year-old son wouldn’t wear his mask.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires all passengers ages two and older to wear a mask.
However, the Scott family’s son, Orion, has sensory processing disorder and his parents feared he would have trouble wearing his mask throughout the flight.
That’s why Orion’s mother, Caroline Scott, says they alerted Southwest Airlines about their son’s disability, even providing a note from his doctor and an occupational therapist.
The family boarded the plane Friday for their flight for Fort Lauderdale. They say Orion had his mask on and was buckled up when suddenly a Southwest employee approached them and ordered them off the plane at the request of the captain.
“She said you have to get off the plane. The captain doesn’t feel comfortable with your family on it,” she said. “We were not de-boarded for behaviors, but preemptively in case he might take off his mask, and he’s also three,” Caroline said.
The Scotts were furious.
“It’s not ok. There was no empathy. There was no understanding. We were just humiliated. It was traumatizing and humiliating,” Caroline said.
The family was forced to not only deplane, but also to book a new last-minute flight on United Airlines for $1,700 the next day.
“We thought we were doing the right thing and for being forefront and honest, we were punished for it,” Caroline explained.
This time, they did not alert the airline about their son’s sensory disorder and the trip went off without a hitch.
“We’re never going to disclose again, and that’s a shame because it should be ‘How can we support people who need extra support?’ Not let’s kick them off the plane. No family should have to go through this,” Caroline said.
The FOX31 Problem Solvers did reach out to Southwest, which provided the following statement:
Southwest Airlines regrets any inconvenience this family experienced while traveling, and our Customer Relations Team is contacting the family directly regarding their experience. Southwest Employees are working each day to ensure the requirements of the federal mask mandate with sensitivity during these challenging times. We appreciate the ongoing understanding and cooperation among our Customers and Employees as we work collectively to support the comfort and wellbeing of all who travel with us during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.