4-year-old Carter Kimball is autistic and has a fascination with airplanes, so he couldn’t wait to finally fly on a real plane!
However, because Carter has difficulty breathing and begins self-injurious behavior when wearing a mask, his father made sure to bring a medical mask exemption from his doctor.
But the ruthless airline officials at Spirit Airlines didn’t care about Carter, his doctor’s note, or his intellectual disability. When he refused to wear a mask – they traumatized his entire family by doing the unthinkable.
On their flight to their destination, Carter and his family were able to fly without any issues.
But on their flight back home, while he was sitting quietly in his seat waiting to take off, airline officials suddenly decided they had a problem with Carter not wearing a mask…
… event though his father had already presented the doctor’s note upon boarding.
His mother told the horrific story of what occurred.
“He has a disability. It’s protected under the American Disability Act and they go ‘No no no no. Autism’s not a disability. He has to wear a mask or he has to get off the plane.'”
Carter loves planes, and to be removed from one upset the 4-year old.
“Kids on the spectrum, they’re usually very obsessed with something. He is obsessed with airplanes. So he was sitting in his seat being quietly and looking out the window, and this lady was like ‘Get off!'”
And his mother is exactly right. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects children like Carter from being discriminated against due to their intellectual disability.
In fact, ever since King Biden went federal and decided to force travelers to wear masks, all airlines must also allow for medical mask exemptions.
And yet, this isn’t the first time this has happened.
One mother and her son flying with Southwest were humiliated and booted off the plane for not wearing a mask, even though her son had a severe physical disability AND a doctor’s note!
It’s no wonder a record number of travelers are experiencing travel anxiety like never before.
Forcing a 4-year-old child with special needs to deboard a plane over a mask – ESPECIALLY when he had a doctor’s note AND is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act – is unconscionable.
Of course, he is too young to truly understand what happened – but he has enough sense to know it wasn’t right. When the situation was over, poor Carter threw all his toy airplanes onto the ground.
Even worse, the family was forced to spend $1,000 to fly home on a different carrier – American Airlines, who DID accept the doctor’s note.
So what does Spirit have to say?
Instead of being horrified over the way this little boy was treated, they stand by their decision.
The last portion of their statement was extremely unnerving and said:
“Our existing policy does not provide for medical exemptions, regardless of diagnosis. Our Team Members explained this to a family traveling today, but never questioned anyone’s medical status in the process.
Starting March 19, 2021, Guests with a medical disability who are traveling on or after March 22, 2021 can apply for an exemption as provided for in the federal mandate requiring masks in airports and on planes. We plan to add information to our website about the exemption later this week”, reported THV11.
Airlines have got to get it together.
These types of situations should not be happening, ever, under any circumstance.
Discriminating against travelers with physical or intellectual disabilities because the airline hasn’t updated its “policies” shows just how confusing and chaotic travel these days actually is.
Let’s hope these families get justice for their horrifying experience and that no other family ever has to endure such humiliation ever again.
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