Southwest removes family from flight after 3-year-old with autism refuses mask

National News

HOUSTON (KPRC/CNN Newsource) — Having a child with autism comes with certain challenges, but in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s a whole new challenge: the face mask.

A Texas family’s day went from bad to worse after getting kicked off a plane because their 3-year-old son was terrified to wear a mask.

Southwest Airlines got Alyssa Sadler and her two children across the state to Midland last week.

But now, she has to find a different way home.

“It was just not a good morning,” Sadler says.

Alyssa says her flight to Houston left the gate on Monday morning, only to quickly return when her 3-year-old son, who has autism, wouldn’t wear a mask.

“He was screaming. He was throwing a fit. He was screaming ‘no, no, no,'” she says.

She says her son has sensory processing disorder and doesn’t like his face touched.

Alyssa even had a note about his condition from his doctor, but that didn’t make a difference.

Southwest Airlines says all customers over age two have to cover their faces while traveling, something that’s pointed out during the booking and online check-in process.

The airline said in a statement:

“If a customer is unable to wear a face covering for any reason, Southwest regrets that we are unable to transport the individual.”

“I think there needs to be something in place for children or even adults with disabilities who can’t wear a mask. They should have some kind of exemption,” Sadler says.

Alyssa says her son didn’t wear a mask while boarding, or even on the flight to Midland.

Now, it looks like they won’t be flying back.

Alyssa says a family member will drive them back from Midland on Thursday.

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