The autistic boy’s mother said she’s never experienced that kind of discrimination while Spirit Airlines defends the policy.
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A 4-year-old Arkansas boy with autism was kicked off a Spirit Airlines flight Monday for refusing to wear a mask, despite having a doctor’s note, according to local news.
Callie Kimball told KTHV-TV her son, Carter, was booted from a return flight after visiting family in Las Vegas alleging an employee of the airline told them “autism’s not a disability” and “he has to wear a mask or he has to get off the plane.”
“He had a medical note from his physician stating that he’s exempt from wearing masks because whenever he wears a mask he holds his breath or he starts freaking out and he will harm himself,” Kimball said.
The mom explained her husband and son had traveled on the airline multiple times and had not had an issue.
The Little Rock family was kicked off the flight in Dallas but Carter’s babysitter was not allowed to de-board the plane with them.
The family had to book a flight on American Airlines Monday that did accept the medical note.
Sadly, the incident has upset Carter, who is obsessed with airplanes.
Kimball said she’s never experienced that kind of discrimination before.
Spirit issued a statement saying it sympathizes with the family and refunded them for the flight.
The airline did, however, defend its policy to kick off the 4-year-old boy.
“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,” the airline said.
“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,” they added.