In a statement to National File, American Airlines admitted that they booted a two-year-old child off of a flight for not wearing a mask, despite the mother saying he had an asthma attack.
National File broke on Tuesday on the story of Amanda Pendarvis, who was kicked off a flight on Monday because her two-year-old son, who was having an asthma attack, was unable to properly wear his face mask. As National File reported:
In upsetting footage posted to Instagram by Pendarvis, her son can be seen crying and not wanting to wear the mask due to his inability to breathe. Despite allegedly showing the American Airlines attendant his negative COVID test, and informing him that he has asthma, the flight attendant “did not care” that Waylon was “literally hyperventilating.” As a result, the plane was turned around and the family were escorted off by police officers. “I was not refusing a mask, nor did I even say I wouldn’t try to keep a mask on my son,” Pendarvis confirmed.
Despite the flight attendant announcing the incident to the whole plane, describing her son as a “non-compliant traveler,” the majority of passengers did not speak up about what was happening, she added. “There was one man behind us who was standing up to [the flight attendant] telling him how [insane and irrational] he was being,” Pendarvis wrote, adding that several other passengers mouthed “I am sorry.”
In a statement to National File, American Airlines confirmed that on Monday, flight AA1284 from Dallas Forth Worth 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.
While asthma is not generally covered by the CDC’s medical exemption policy for public transport, said exemptions exist for those who cannot take their mask off if they struggle to breathe, as happened with Pendarvis’s son. It seems unfeasible that any federal regulations would require the suffocation of any passengers. The statement also seems contradicts Pendarvis’s version of events, where she explicitly states that she was not refusing to wear a face covering.