American Airlines Kicks 2 Year Old Off Flight For Not Wearing A Mask, Threatens To Ban Whole Family

A husband and wife boarded their flight on American Airlines from Charlotte to Jacksonville along with their 4 year old and 2 year old and two grandparents. American kicked them off because their two year old wouldn’t keep her mask on. They had no issue on their inbound flight, just their onward connection. And the woman says her daughter was eating, which is allowed.

American Airlines staff in Charlotte reportedly threatened to ban the whole family from the airline. American, though, tells me that “The family is not banned from flying with American if they are willing to comply with our face covering requirements for future flights.”

Leshinsky said her daughter, Makenna, was eating a snack when the flight attendant asked if she had a mask.

“My daughter was literally chewing,” Leshinsky said. “The stewardess said, ‘you are going to have to put her mask on.’ I said, ‘I will as soon as she’s done eating.’”

Leshinsky said they tried getting Makenna to put on the mask, but she wasn’t having it.

“She would leave it on for a little bit and then she’d take it off because she wanted to eat, and we would keep trying to put it on. We were bribing her,” Leshinsky said.

Leshinsky said the crew brought a Federal Air Marshal on board to talk to the family.

According to American Airlines, they “offered to rebook the family on another flight to Jacksonville.” They family, though, says they “suggested we all get back on the plane but leave [their two year old] at the airport.” They rented a van for the six hour drive home.

American says they’ve refunded the Charlotte – Jacksonville segment of the family’s tickets.

According to an American Airlines spokesperson,

American Airlines requires all customers age 2 and older to wear face coverings at airports and on board aircraft to keep all customers and team members safe. This policy is based on CDC recommendations due to the safety risk of asymptomatic COVID-19 transmission. Our professional flight attendants try to work with parents of young children and recognize ongoing compliance efforts when families are traveling with us.

Our customers overwhelmingly support and follow this policy and have been clear that they feel more safe when everyone is wearing a face covering.

This isn’t the first time that American kicked a two year old off a flight for not wearing a mask. American’s policy, at least, is clear: “A face covering is required while flying on American, except for children under 2 years old.” Although masks can come down briefly while eating.

United Airlines kicked a two year old off a flight this month for not being willing to wear their mask even though United’s published policy said that masks are required for children over two.

I’m in favor of mask-wearing, though most of the masks people wear aren’t very good. They may offer limited source protection. Travelers should make an effort to wear better masks. I’m not in favor of kicking off families whose two year olds can’t wear masks. The preponderance of evidence highly suggests that the risk of spread from a two year old is very low.

Families with young children should fly Delta Air Lines which exempts young children unable to wear masks for their facial coverings requirement.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. Just wait,
    I’m sure more info is sure to come. Otherwise:

    1) The policy is to be followed or you don’t fly!!
    No ifs, buts, or coconuts.

    2) Sure people have to get somewhere, but there are plenty of ways to do that.

    3) If you don’t like/agree with policy don’t use that airline.

    Enough of “you have to make exceptions” , “it’s not fair” , “you just don’t understand”

    No we don’t, yes it is, and yes they do.

  2. I have points to use on AA. I feel in this case they were wrong. If the child was eating the mask stays off. That age does not know the need for a mask. I am a nurse. Children are not as susceptible and do not spread the coved like adults. The airline got carried away. This world is getting carried away. Especially anyone from liberal states.

  3. U knew the rules before you got on that plane people are dying little kids have caught it too or DAY care for them would be open now so do you think the airlines should just let all 2yr olds get on their plane & risk the life of all their passengers? No ones knows what’s going to happen until it happens if they knew more people wouldn’t be dying.You know your child rent a car or stay at home. This is not about making 2yr olds happy or getting you paid because you didn’t listen to experts about flying or trying to stop people from flying with them because they followed the rules & U didn’t this is about saving lives, preventing more deaths & keeping TRAVELING as safe as they can so get over it. They didn’t make everyone leave the plane U did when you chose to ride with then knowing your daughter wasn’t going to be still or keep a mask on you knew that before you got on that plane it’s your fault THAT AIRLINE OWES U NOTHING

  4. We just flew a flight from Chicago to Msp and a few older gentlemen, that looked a little more astute, had their masks down under their noses and NO one Said a word. Back seat people, be prepared to be the “minorities” on your flight. There will be discrimination on these flights, YOU HAVE NOW BECOME THE NEW “PLANE-O AMERICANS”

  5. I suspect the devil is in the details. As in most cases, the complainant is likely providing inaccurate information (whether knowingly or it is what she truly believes). The article includes the airline denying there is a ban. It also references a refund for that leg AFTER the family opted out of a different flight. And unless the family was getting violent I see no way an Air Marshal (who by their job nature are not supposed to make themselves identifiable for a customer service issue) is getting involved, although it may have been airport police if the family was refusing to leave once the issue got that far.

    I fly AA all the time and I appreciate their policy on masks and I feel more than 95% follow the rules well. I’ve seen the rare person that leaves their mask off when not eating or drinking and the slightly more common but still rare nose-peekers albeit less now than back around May-June-July. People attacking the customer service part of this conveniently ignore that for the 100+ of the customers that wear the mask and like the protection, what AA is doing IS customer service. And flying as much as I do I have researched things such as the air filtration and how the air within the cabin is constantly replaced within minutes and that the 2 feet between seats equates out to 7 feet in a non filtered air situation. Now that doesn’t help much if the person next to you is coughing or sneezing but for routine breathing it is significant.

    All that being said, the airline may have been overzealous IF the 2-year old was made to leave without repeated opportunity to resolve the situation. Again we don’t have actual facts – so if it was the F/A asked multiple times over a period of 10 min or more then I feel the airline was not overacting as it demonstrates the parent was not trying to resolve the situation. If it was less time than that – eating is an allowable reason when done briefly and the airline should have been more patient. Most likely the situation was somewhere in the middle AND involved the parent saying something to the effect that “because of” this or that, they would not follow the F/A direction. At which point absolutely they are deplaned since that is just how it works.

  6. American airlines are out of control some people are out of control they think that they got power they are stupid ass people who are too stupid they are be control

  7. Delta still keeps the middle seat open and they are more liberal about their mask policy for kids. I will continue to fly with them. (Netherlands doesn’t require masks for kids 11 and younger)

  8. If I were another passenger I would have been booted off because I would have stood up for that family. Where was the common sense. Would they have thrown everyone off if they all stood up for them. This is what socialism would look like.

  9. If I were another passenger I would have been booted off because I would have stood up for that family. Where was the common sense. Would they have thrown everyone off if they all stood up for them. This is what socialism would look like.

  10. Dimes to dollars the ones talking crap about the “spoiled brat” and “who’s the parent, hold it if necessary”…don’t have kids. Ya’ll are dumb. Seriously. Guaranteed you never would have worn a mask at that age. Let’s be realistic. If you’re afraid of the two year old not wearing a mask…don’t fly.

  11. Airline was right. Protecting the health of others. Parents are legally responsible for underage children. End of story.

  12. People really didn’t read this article. She stated her toddler was eating and wasn’t done eating the flight attendant was wrong and so was the airline. If you are eating your not required to wear mask but are required when done to put it on. The attendant was obviously picking on the family making big deal cause the toddler wanted to have her snack and attendant didn’t have patience for her to eat. She’s a toddler they snack and eat just like everybody if not more. The mother was trying to put on mask knowing child wasn’t done but to comply with this outrageous attendant but child wanted more to eat she wasn’t done. Toddler took mask off to eat more she was hungry. How dare anyone look at child or family in a negative way for feeding there child and flight attendant not letting toddler eat food. You should be shaming the attendant and airline fir their behavior. And for the attendant to only bother them and not do there other duties to give chance for toddler to eat she was obviously wanting to start something and be annoying to not just family but everyone else on plane. Let the toddler eat in peace.

  13. The article clearly states the child was eating. Mask can be off when eating. The mom stated she would put the mask on after the child finished the snack. A 2 year old has no concept of rules. When they are hungry, tired, sleepy, etc. There is no reasoning. If you are not allowed to eat/ take off your mask, then why do airlines pass out snacks and say once finished eating put your mask back on? So the rules are conflicting? Airlines are not following their own rules. So if that’s the case the airlines should not pass out snacks. Also I fly frequently. People get on the plane with food all the time and are eating. When they are done they put their mask on. So what waa the real issue? So at this point will AA ban passengers from boarding with their own food and drink? Eating?

  14. All you who are saying, “I would’ve stood up for the family if I were there” or “2 years old dont spread COVID so shouldn’t be kicked off for not wearing a mask” are using ridiculous arguments. The rule is the rule and it’s already in place. If you don’t like it work to get it changed, but blaming the airlines isn’t helping anything. Acting belligerent or complaining about a rule or law doesn’t make a bit of difference.

  15. Why is this even news? Them are the rules. Follow them or find a different way to travel.

  16. Before COVID-19, everyone involved in flying has accepted that toddlers are going to cry, babble, scream, laugh, etc. on a flight. Now we suddenly expect a toddler to wear a mask on demand? Why not hang plastic dividers as they do in restaurants for a family with a toddler? When my kids were toddlers, I didn’t fly because of the stress that would be involved, but that doesn’t mean I expect everyone else to do the same. Unless an airline bans toddlers, they need to make it work for everyone. God knows we’re paying enough.

  17. Hey dumbasses at American Airlines, it’s a child. As in, a child. What they supposed to do? Knock the kid out so they can put in her mask? I’ll never ever fly u idiots again.

  18. Oh my god…..she was fucking “2”! If your so damn worried about getting sick STAY THE [redacted -gl] HOME!

  19. @ Who Knew – Very well said. I’m in the camp that believes that masks are worthless, however, I wear a mask into the stores, to get a haircut, wherever I’m around the public. Not because I think it does any good but to keep the crazies from coming down on the store or salon I might be in. Right after lock down you could take your mask off while getting a haircut but the stylist had to wear hers. Then they changed it and said if they found people in the salon without a mask they would pull their license. I don’t want to be responsible for someone losing their livelihood, so I comply. But wearing a mask ,etc. I still caught COVID and have survived just fine. I’m also in the camp that they call them the “terrible 2’s” because that is exactly what they are. The treatment of this family by AA was horrible and the F/A should be terminated and I hope this family gets an attorney and sues AA. The sooner AA is gone from the face of the earth the better.

  20. @ Carol – Thank you! A professional health care provider giving a professional view of this entire COVID crazy world we live in!

  21. @ Mike – If you hate bloggers like Gary why do you read his blog? Asking for a friend!

  22. Parents need to train their kids how to put and keep the mask on because in case of emergency they will need to put the oxygen mask on.
    All the airlines have the same policy if they can’t follow that look for an other option.

  23. God we have become a weak and stupid society. The exalted ‘experts’ have yet to provide a single piece of peer reviewed data proving wearing a mask of any sort accomplishes anything in curbing the spread of Covid. All we’re given is the opinions of the experts that have been wrong about just about every aspect of this virus. A simple reality…why are case counts rising where the most draconian mask mandates exist? Wake up to the reality that government is doing what it does best in regards to masking…it is lying to us, again.

    A final comment from someone with almost 1 million miles in my FF accts. American Airlines is one of the worst airlines flying and should be avoided at all costs when traveling. How AA is still in business is a miracle.

  24. Seriously, what kind of travel do you plan with a 2-year-old at this time in our lives? What on Earth is the purpose?

  25. Nobody has addressed the fact that this is a TWO YEAR OLD! Most still wear diapers just gave up bottles their favorite word is NO! …keeping a mask on them is next to impossible,
    especially for a length of time. I do agree the parents should have used another form of transportation because 2 year olds are 2 year olds!

  26. She is a 2 year old trying to eat she is hungry there is No Way No How She is going to put a mask on it is ridiculous. AA made a mistake. They owed them a Refund. I bet their are adults who once boarded lower their masks & nothing is said to them . I called AA in the absolute Wrong here. Steward was just being a bitch.

  27. @Andi – When the airlines and the F/A don’t follow the rules then what are the rules? Is it like Newsom that violates his own rules and they don’t apply? Unfortunately I’m going to have to do some pretty serious flying next year and one of our F/A friends is coming out to coach me up on the FAA rules that are violated routinely by AA F/A. I’m going to document them, video them with my phone when possible and then file a complaint with the FAA. I’m not going to bother with AA, it’s going straight to the FAA. You want to beat up on a 2 year old then you’d better be perfect!

  28. There is many more airlines that would never think a 2year old will wear a mask fact is with better rates

  29. This is the most mindful comment..exactly airlines should provide resources or just band tolder from traveling

  30. I’m amazed how people think “ she’s eating “!is a good excuse. For all you people saying “ she’s 2” what if the plane was going down? Mom: I decided not to put oxygen mask on because she hadn’t finished her snack!” The rules are there to protect the 89 year old grandmother one row back and the marine with cancer in the row in front. If you can’t handle a 2 year old ( 2!!) maybe you should not be a parent? Tge mom shooting video was a lot more determined to be on social media than in simply telling her kid- you can finish your cookie in 5 minutes. Do you all really think 2 year olds get to call the shots for the 125 others?

  31. What a miserable example of our society, arguing about rules and policy vs. children instead of how we insist on traveling freely during a PANDEMIC ‼️
    At a time when hospitals are overwhelmed, and we know how the disease is transmitted, we insist on allowing everyone to go anywhere they like in those glorified busses.
    How do you think that virus got here in the fist place?
    Don’t take the whole family on a vacation halfway across the country! The only people who should be flying are those who absolutely need to!
    Are we so spoiled that we can’t give up a family weekend getaway?!
    Shame on all of us!

  32. The two year old isnt a full grown sheep yet……will you people look at the nonsense you are writing….my goodness….help us all.

  33. The people who are against wearing masks and think this is a joke, are the same people who don’t obey rules for the greater of society. The Rule is just that a rule. You know the rule, if you don’t like it then drive in your car,

    The world is in a narcissistic culture, we must all obey the rules, thats for everyone’s benefit as the good of society.

  34. What a scumb bag! Raise your kids better. Why can’t they follow this simple rule for the safety and lives of others? She knew the rules and chose not to follow them. You don’t get a golden ticket to not follow rules because you bred. She and her health risk of a spawn put others in jeopardy. We are in the middle of a pandemic have a sense of humanity and decency. Its not socialism or control to be. Its fear of death and care for yourself and fellow man. There is also a rule not to open the door while in flight so everyone doesn’t get sucked out and die. Do these ignorant rebels without a cause want to argue they should be allowed to do this? Your freedom doesn’t come at the expense or risk of others well being. Then you would be controlling that person beyond their will. How is it people don’t mind risking the stranger’s life sitting next to them or potentially end their life, thus ending any freedom of choice or thought, but they view mask requirements to cover their ugly face as infringement on their rights. Also all of these writers speaking about socialism need a better education, their understanding of socialism is nonexistent. Ironically for many the fear of socialism is as strong as their antiamerican love of authoriantism. There are laws you have to wear shoes in stores nobody seems to complain. The man that held an attack on our county by trashy blue jean wearing hillbilly army created the polarization of masks. Its like politicizing cancer or natural disasters, oh wait they have done that in tx recently and puerto rico.

  35. What about the Latin children being held in cages??! Can we please focus on those children who have been made orphans and are victims of the past administration? Who by the way is responsible for the insurrection but wasn’t convicted this or the last impeachment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *