American Airlines turned around a flight and kicked off a two-year-old asthmatic boy and his mother and grandmother, because the child could not wear a face mask properly when he had an asthma attack.
Amanda Pendarvis, her two-year-old son Waylon, and her mother, were allegedly kicked off AA Flight 1284 on Monday, because Waylon, who has asthma, was having an attack and could not maintain the mask on his face properly as a result. Pendarvis described it on Instagram as the “most humiliating/traumatizing experience,” because of the actions of the flight attendant, who she named as Carl and described as “truly evil [and] power tripping.”
In upsetting footage posted to Instagram by Pendarvis, her son can be seen crying and not wanting to wear the mask due to his inability to breathe. Despite allegedly showing the American Airlines attendant his negative COVID test, and informing him that he has asthma, the flight attendant “did not care” that Waylon was “literally hyperventilating.” As a result, the plane was turned around and the family were escorted off by police officers. “I was not refusing a mask, nor did I even say I wouldn’t try to keep a mask on my son,” Pendarvis confirmed.
Despite the flight attendant announcing the incident to the whole plane, describing her son as a “non-compliant traveler,” the majority of passengers did not speak up about what was happening, she added. “There was one man behind us who was standing up to [the flight attendant] telling him how [insane and irrational] he was being,” Pendarvis wrote, adding that several other passengers mouthed “I am sorry.” (READ MORE: American Airlines Promises ‘Investigation’ After Flight Attendant Bullies Elderly Woman To Tears For Briefly Lowering Mask)
The story gained greater attention when Twitter user Tiger Lily tweeted screenshots of what Pendarvis posted on Instagram. “The only thing that covid has done to society is remove people of their compassion,” she wrote. “Hospitals making mothers give birth alone, children being taken, babies being kicked off flights, families turning against each other. I won’t make nice with these people. Not anymore.” Responses to the tweet were mostly of shock and anger, including many calls for Pendarvis to sue American Airlines.
American Airlines replied to Tiger Lily in a tweet, confirming that they had “reached out” to Pendarvis asking for more information. National File reached out to American Airlines for a statement on the incident, and whether the actions of the flight attendant were acceptable and in line with their company policies, despite the result being the punishment of a family because of uncontrollable health issues of a minor. After publication, American Airlines issued a response to National File that seemed to confirm the series of events.
This comes just as the Biden administration has doubled the fines for travellers who do not wear a mask on public transport, with first time offenders now liable for fines of up to $500. Exemptions apply for children under 2 and travelers with certain disabilities. While asthma “likely” does not fall under these exemptions, CDC guidelines state that such exemptions only exist because those in question could not remove their mask if breathing became obstructed. It is therefore a possibility that due to the obstruction of breathing from the asthma attack, this incident may have been incorrectly adjudicated by the American Airlines staff.
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