The family of an asthmatic toddler say they were removed from an American Airlines flight and questioned by three police officers on Sunday, September 13, because their child couldn’t tolerate wearing a face mask despite the best attempts of mom Amanda Pendarvis to keep the mask on her son.
Amanda was traveling with her two-year-old son Waylon and her mother on an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Colorado Springs for a family holiday when a flight attendant noticed Waylon was struggling to wear his face mask.
In a series of posts on Amanda’s Instagram story, she describes how the “truly evil, power-tripping” flight attendant had the plane turned around so that the family could be escorted off the plane by law enforcement who were waiting for the aircraft at the gate.
“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,” Amanda explained in one post which was accompanied by a video of her trying to console her upset son while making him wear a face mask. “I genuinely don’t have words,” the post continued.
American Airlines flight AA1284 from Dallas to Colorado Springs was taxiing to the runway for departure when the incident unfolded. The flight was delayed for nearly an hour after the crew returned to the gate and arranged for Amanda and her son to be removed from the plane.
American Airlines confirmed that a mask incident took place on the flight but a spokesperson says the family deplaned upon request and were met by customer care representatives who rebooked them onto a later flight with any further incident.
“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,” a statement from American Airlines explained.
“After agreeing to adhere to federal face covering requirements, all individuals were rebooked for travel on the next flight to Colorado Springs (COS).”
This is far from the first time that the federal mask mandate has come under intense scrutiny for forcing toddlers to wear a face covering. Several similar incidents have occurred on Southwest Airlines but the carrier says it has to enforce the mandate as it is written.
“We appreciate the ongoing cooperation among our customers as we work, collectively, to follow the federal mask mandate and support the comfort and wellbeing of all who travel with us during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Southwest said following an incident in July when a family was booted off a flight because their three-year-old toddler threw a face mask tantrum.
The mandate requires all public transport passengers aged two and over to wear a face mask unless they are eating or drinking, or because a disability prevents them from wearing a face covering. American Airlines requires passengers to apply for a disability exemption prior to travel.
The Biden administration’s mask mandate is at odds with much of Europe and the United Kingdom where the minimum age for public transport mask mandates is 11 years old. The World Health Organization (WHO) expressly advises that children aged five and under should not be made to wear a mask.
While an increasing number of countries, including the UK, Denmark and the Netherlands are repealing face mask rules for children, the U.S. federal mask mandate has been recently extended through January 18, 2022.
Amanda admits that this was the first time that Waylon had worn a mask but she says she did her best to comply with the mandate.
Last November, the American Airlines flight attendants union said its members were suffering “enforcement fatigue” in trying to gain compliance with the face mask mandate.
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