Autistic four year old ‘banned for life’ from US airline after mask exemption row

Father is suing Transportation Security Administration and two airlines over ‘mind-blowing’ ban

Lucy Thackray
Wednesday 08 December 2021 15:44
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Autistic four year old 'banned for life' by airline for not wearing mask

The father of an autistic four-year-old says he and his son have been “banned for life” by a US airline after he tried to prove his son was medically exempt from wearing a mask on flights.

Michael Seklecki told Fox News that his son was blocked twice from boarding flights with Frontier and Spirit Airlines even though he had doctor’s notes about a medical exemption for his son.

He says that the ongoing mask exemption row has resulted in Frontier Airlines banning the pair from all flights.

"He’s been banned for life on Frontier Airlines… I was specifically banned as well," Mr Seklecki told Fox’s The Ingraham Angle show.

Mr Seklecki says he is suing the Transportation Security Administration and as well as Spirit and Frontier Airlines over their mask policies.

He claims his son is medically exempted from wearing a mask due to his autism, with the child’s doctors agreeing that he cannot “tolerate” a mask - and says he presented doctor’s notes to airline workers on both occasions.

Frontier Airlines told the family that doctors notes do not "override corporate policy at Frontier."

Four year old Michael Seklecki Jr receives regular medical treatment in Boston, his parents say, requiring the family to fly from their home in Florida on a regular basis.

"It’s totally just mind-blowing to be refused travel for medical care," said Mr Seklecki, who said he received “appalling and condescending” service from airline staff when he presented evidence of his son’s medical conditions.

The US has had a country-wide mask mandate for all airlines, airports and stations in place since August 2020.

“Most people, including those with disabilities, can tolerate and safely wear a mask and are required to wear one as per CDC’s Order,” reads the order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“However, certain people with disabilities who, because of their disability, cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, are exempted from CDC’s mask-wearing requirement.”

It gives a breakdown of specific disabilities that would mean passengers are exempt from the mask rule.

The mask rule was later extended to January 2022, and most recently to March 2022.

A Frontier Airlines spokesperson says: “At no point in time were the boy and his father placed on our internal prevent departure list. In other words, at no point in time were they banned from flying with us. That information is absolutely untrue.”

The Independent has contacted Spirit Airlines and the TSA for comment.

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