American Airlines blocked a family from boarding a flight after staff was told their 13-year-old daughter has special needs.
The family was on their way from Orlando, Florida to Richmond, Virginia via Charlotte, North Carolina on 6 June but they missed their connecting flight after a two-hour delay on their initial journey, according to Insider.
They were provided with new seats that were not located together, prompting the parents to tell airline staff that they needed to sit next to their daughter because she has special needs and that she could have a seizure.
They added that they didn’t want to sit close to the back of the plane because it was louder and bumpier, which they said could lead to a seizure. The family had paid for seats at the front of the aircraft.
After a gate agent spoke to the captain of the plane, the family was told that they wouldn’t be allowed on board.
The conversation with staff became irate, with the father, who chose to remain anonymous, telling Insider that he shouted at a manager who “kept talking over everybody”. The family was then asked to leave the premises.
“They treated us like we were terrorists and did not believe that my daughter has special needs,” the father told the outlet.
He added that his daughter had suffered two fractures to her skull, that she had two brain injuries, and broken ribs as well as burns before she had been adopted by the father and his wife.
“My daughter has had her last rights read to her on several occasions as her seizures can be fatal,” he said.
The family then had to pay for new flights to Richmond. The extra cost, including hotel rooms and Uber rides, came to around $1,000. They haven’t been compensated by the airline, according to Insider.
The Independent has reached out to American Airlines for comment.