On September 7, 2020, my family and I were traveling on American Airlines flight from Washington, D.C. to Detroit.
A flight attendant stopped my son’s father and told him my 2-year-old son had to wear a mask or we could not board the flight.
We had been on four previous flights with American Airlines on our vacation, and none of those flights required our 2-year-old to wear a mask.
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American Airlines’ policy states that certain people are exempt from their face coverings rule such as “small children” and people who are “eating and drinking.”
I gave my son a snack while we were seated and the flight was delayed due to weather. The same flight attendant who stopped us at the door approached me and told me to put a mask on my son. When I stated that he was two and he was eating, she said “candy is not food” and “make your decision; either follow the rules or you are off the flight.” (This exchange was all captured on video.)
Since I felt I had no choice, I put a mask on my son. He cried the whole trip. At one point, the pilot approached me and said that “if the baby didn’t compromise and stop crying, he would turn the plane around and deboard us.”
This was a traumatizing experience for my son and me and his father. We want American Airlines to refund our ticket price at least for recompense for traumatizing our child by violating their own policies and for not being consistent with those policies across the board.
My friend and 4-year-old nephew were on the same flight and had a different flight attendant. They were permitted to remove their masks and sleep the entire flight.