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Mother, kids removed from flight when 3-year-old with autism wouldn't wear a mask

Mother, kids removed from flight when 3-year-old with autism wouldn't wear a mask
Posted at 11:57 AM, Aug 13, 2020

A family was removed from a Southwest flight after their 3-year-old son with autism refused to wear a face mask, as required by the airline’s policy.

Alyssa Sadler was traveling with her son and 1-year-old daughter from Midland to Houston, Texas. She was visiting her husband who works in Midland, according to media reports.

"It was just not a good morning," said Sadler. "He was screaming. He was throwing a fit. He was screaming no, no, no,” Sadler told KPRC in Houston.

The plane had just left the gate when it reportedly turned back around when it became clear the young boy was not going to wear a mask. Sadler and her kids were then removed.

“When you get kicked off your flight because your 3 year old autistic child won’t wear a mask... looks like I’m stuck here in midland,” Sadler posted on Facebook. “I’m literally disgusted by how my son was treated and how i was treated.”

Sadler’s son doesn’t like his face being touched, and she carries a medical note explaining the condition.

Southwest’s mask policy applies to passengers 2 and older, and the face covering must be worn the duration of the flight. The airline says there are no exceptions to this policy.

"What we have concluded is there shouldn't be any exceptions, because the exception could be someone who has the virus," Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told CNN.

Sadler has no problem with masks, but believes there should be exceptions in certain situations.

“I think there needs to be something in place for children or even adults with disabilities who can’t wear a mask. They should have some kind of exemption,” she told KPRC.

The FAA has not issued a federal policy about masks on planes, and it is up to the individual airline to make a decision and enforce it.