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.
— Briana Leshinsky (@breelee93) December 29, 2020
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.