In a second statement, American Airlines now claim that they didn’t realise that a two-year-old boy removed from a flight was having an asthma attack, despite his mother administering treatment on the plane.
As National File reported, Amanda Pendarvis, her two-year-old son Waylon, and her mother, were kicked off AA Flight 1284 on Monday, because Waylon, who has asthma, was having an attack and could not maintain the mask on his face properly as a result. Pendarvis described it on Instagram as the “most humiliating/traumatizing experience,” because of the actions of the flight attendant, who she named as Carl and described as “truly evil [and] power tripping.”
In a Facebook post, Pendarvis described how after allowing her son to walk around the aisle before the airplane began taxiing as they were stuck on the tarmac for 40 minutes, “Carl” instructed her to keep Waylon in his seat, and then to enforce him wearing a mask, dsepite the fact he had never worn one before, with the end result being that the panic caused an asthma attack:
He was tired and fidgety and I couldn’t get him to keep the mask on. It escalated to the point he was covered in sweat, hysterical, and kept screaming “nooo, mama, NO!!!!!” and he ripped a total of 3 different masks off of his face. At this point I’m literally just holding a broken mask over his face because I literally don’t know what else to do. He now is having difficulty breathing.
Carl keeps relaying everything to the pilot, and the pilot gets on the intercom for the first time… Waylon had his first asthma attack 2 months ago ( but we have had a breathing machine in our home for him since he was around 5 mounts since his breathing has always been a concern when he gets sick) which landed us in Children’s hospital and he has been on a daily preventive inhaler as well as prescribed an emergency inhaler (which I take with me/him everywhere) since.
The hysteria he had gotten himself to a point that warranted us using his emergency inhaler. It was AT THE POINT WE WERE GIVING MY CHILD A BREATHING TREATMENT that they get on the intercom and “okay, we are dealing with a non-compliant passenger and will be updating the plane shortly” (second time we get shamed on the intercom. Fantastic) It is at this point, we are officially asked to grab our bags and are escorted off the plane.
A mother has alleged that an American Airlines flight attendant kicked her and her son off of a flight because the two-year-old could not wear a mask properly during an asthma attack.
— Jack Hadfield 👍🇬🇧 (@JackHadders) September 14, 2021
In a statement to National File, American Airlines confirmed that the flight returned to the gate to deplane the family. “Initial reports indicate the party refused to comply with crew member instructions to remain seated and wear a face mask securely over their nose and mouth,” the statement continued. “After agreeing to adhere to federal face covering requirements, all individuals were rebooked for travel on the next flight to Colorado Springs (COS),” it concluded.
The statement failed to mention any reports regarding the asthma attack, but did include American Airlines’s policy regarding the wearing of face masks, which notes that they require “all individuals two and older to wear a face covering at all times while indoors at the airport and on board.” The policy requires that anyone who needs a medical exemption must apply for one at least 72 hours before departure.
However, following publication of the second article, the story garnered even more attention, and American Airlines were forced to release a second statement. “After observing a minor in the party laying in the aisle and moving between seats on taxi out, our flight crew made multiple attempts to reinforce safety requirements,” the statement said. “While addressing the party, our crew also reminded the individuals in the party that federal directives require customers to wear a face covering at all times while on board unless actively eating or drinking.”
The American Airlines spokesman said that “at no time was it made known to our crew members that a member of the party was experiencing an asthma attack or trouble breathing,” and that “individuals were not addressed for failure to comply with face covering requirements at any point while administering treatment.” However, it is logically impossible for American Airlines to have simultaneously known that treatment was being administered and not have known that Waylon was having an asthma attack.
While asthma does not usually qualify for a permanent mask exemption under CDC guidelines, by kicking Waylon and his family off for not wearing a mask, American Airlines would have violated TSA Security Directive SD 1582/84-21-01B, which on page 3, footnote 7, clearly states that “persons who are experiencing difficulty breathing or shortness of breath or are feeling winded may remove the mask temporarily until able to resume normal breathing with the mask.”