‘Got this monster off the plane’: Anger as toddler removed from plane for not wearing mask during asthma attack

‘We were escorted off the plane as I was holding a mask over his little face. I genuinely don’t have words,’ mother says

Gustaf Kilander
Washingon, DC
Thursday 16 September 2021 21:31 BST

Related video: How the Airline Industry Is Approaching Employee Vaccinations

A toddler was removed from a flight for not wearing his mask properly despite suffering an asthma attack.

Amanda Pendarvis, the mother of two-year-old Waylon, was on American Airlines Flight 1284 from Dallas to Colorado on 13 September, when she said that a “truly evil, power-tripping” member of the flight crew asked the pilot to turn around the plane to remove the mother and son from the aircraft.

“He got on the intercom and to say to the entire plane, ‘I’m sorry for the delay but we are dealing with a non-compliant traveller…’” Ms Pendarvis said.

“Thank you for your bravery,” she wrote sarcastically on her Instagram story, adding that the member of the flight crew “really took a stance and got this monster off the plane,” referring to her son.

“I was not refusing a mask, nor did I even say I wouldn’t try to keep a mask on my son. We were escorted off the plane as I was holding a mask over his little face. I genuinely don’t have words,” the mother said.

This was the first time that Waylon, who has asthma, was wearing a mask. American Airlines does offer exemptions to the mask mandate, but passengers have to obtain an exemption in advance, and Waylon’s family had not done so, Live and Let’s Fly reported.

“On September 13, American Airlines flight 1284 returned to the gate prior to departure from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to deplane a party refusing to comply with crew member instructions to remain seated while on an active taxiway and to wear face coverings securely over their nose and mouth,” American Airlines told The Independent in a statement. “After agreeing to adhere to policies instituted for the safety of our customers and crew, all individuals were rebooked for travel on the next flight to Colorado Springs (COS).”

The mother described the episode as “the most humiliating/traumatising experience”.

Ms Pendarvis said the intervening flight attendant “had the plane turned around and had us escorted off to be met by police officers. Why? Wait for it … because my two-year-old was not properly wearing a mask”.

“Mind you, Way is asthmatic. We had [shown] [the flight attendant] a negative Covid test Way had yesterday. Told him he has asthma and has never worn a mask before. He did not care that this asthmatic child was literally hyperventilating,” she added.

The mask mandate under the Biden administration requires that all passengers on public transport over the age of two wear a mask unless they are currently eating, drinking, or have a medical reason not to wear a face covering.

The president and co-founder of the consumer advocacy group Travelers Unite, Charles Leocha, told Business Insider: “Airlines that insist on having 2- and 3-year-old children wear masks at all times will always face problems. Treating a 2-year-old like a 30-year-old is foolish and unnatural.”

Mr Leocha added that “parents should help younger children practice wearing masks so kids are comfortable wearing them during flight”.

But he also said airlines “should allow common sense to prevail”.

Other families have reported similar experiences with being kicked off flights because their young children didn’t keep their masks on.

In April, all of the passengers on a flight from Orlando to Atlantic City had to get off the plane before being allowed back on board after a family of four were told that they were in “non-compliance” with the mask policy because their two-year-old didn’t wear a mask.

“We just got kicked off a flight because our two-year-old would not put on a mask,” mother Eliz Orban said in December 2020 after her family were asked to leave a plane flying from Colorado to New Jersey.

Speaking to Fox News, she said the experience was “humiliating” and “traumatising”.

The Independent has reached out to Ms Pendarvis for comment.

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