Airline Stops Boy With Autism From Boarding Plane
(Unsplash / Jakob Owens)
It seems like every day, there’s a new PR disaster regarding an airline. First it was United air policing the outfits of young girls and making them change before a flight. Then it was…United again, siccing Chicago PD to basically assault a passenger and get him off of a plane. I don’t know about you all, but it’s starting to make it seem like flying just might not be the way to go. This time, it’s Southwest that’s in hot water. And the charge? Preventing a young boy with autism from boarding his flight. And as you might imagine, his mother is furious.
4-year-old Adonis Roman is just like any other little boy. He just happens to be on the autism spectrum. Being on the autism spectrum, of course, doesn’t prevent anyone from flying. In fact, little Adonis has flown with his mommy, Jaselyn, multiple times just fine. Unfortunately, this time was different.
Employees of Southwest Air took notice of young Adonis’ behavior prior to boarding, which apparently seemed “anxious”, according to FOX News 25. The boy was apparently also spitting randomly, which his mother states is related to his autism-related oral fixation. Airline employees then requested proof of her son’s autism diagnosis.
“They ask me flat out ‘does he have documentation?’” Jaselyn said in an interview with FOX. “I said ‘listen if he doesn’t board now it’s going to be a tantrum and emotional breakdown.’”
The mom knew her son would be best off on the plane with priority boarding, but gate agents declined. Then, mom and son were told they would be unable to take their flight because he was seen as a “flight risk.”
Southwest wound up putting up mom and son in a hotel for the evening free of charge, and then allowing the pair to fly the following day. The airline also reimbursed her for the tickets. They also sent out this e-mail, which the mom has now shared on social media:
“If we have reason to believe that a Customer will require medical intervention during a flight, we will deny boarding to that individual if we do not receive a medical certificate and/or evaluation from trained medical professionals clearing the Customer for travel.”
While the mom is still understandably upset, she hopes that Southwest and other airlines learn from the mistake.
“I want the airline to say you know what we’re going to educate our staff on what autism is. It’s not a contagious disease. It’s something you cannot yell, scream, blow sirens, you cannot chastise us, you cannot shut us down we do have a voice.”
Here’s hoping they start some of that training soon.