Family Booted From Flight, Claim American Airlines Didn't Want Son With Down Syndrome In First Class

UPDATE: American Airlines has issued a full statement to Consumerist on this story. It has been added to the end of the post.
American Airlines says the reason it refused to allow boarding to a 16-year-old with Down syndrome and his parents is that the teen was behaving erratically. The parents say that’s completely untrue and that the airline simply didn’t want their son in first class.

The incident occurred in Newark, where the family was attempting to board a flight to Los Angeles.

The airline tells KTLA-TV that the son was “excitable, running around, and not acclimated to the environment. The pilot attempted to calm him down and acclimate him to the surroundings. His efforts were not successful. For the safety of the young man and the safety of other, American Airlines offered to book another flight for the family.”

But the family says that the captain never made any attempt to speak to their son and never came within 15 feet of the young man.

And in the video clips shown on KTLA, the teen appears to be sitting calmly while his mother and father debate the topic with an American staffer.

It should be pointed out that this staffer repeatedly tells the mother it’s illegal to videotape inside of the airport, which is simply not true.

The parents say they have flown with their son dozens of times without incident until this latest trip, which also happened to be the first time they upgraded to first class seats.

“This little boy had a seat in the first class area, and for some reason, they didn’t want that,” says the mom. “That wasn’t acceptable.”

The dad tells KTLA they were told his son’s proximity to the cockpit was a cause for concern to the pilot.

“My son is no different from a 4 or 5 year old as far as behavior,” says the dad.

The family eventually rebooked on a United flight, but lost the fee they had paid for the upgrade to first class. They tell KTLA they are planning to sue American, as they believe this incident is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


The young man was very excitable and running around the gate area prior to boarding. Our pilot noticed and asked a Customer Service Manager to talk to the family to see if we could help him calm down and get better acclimated to the situation. That effort was ultimately unsuccessful, and we made the decision to have the family rebooked on a different flight out of concern for the young man’s safety and the safety of other passengers. The family chose not to fly American, so we helped re-accommodate them on another carrier’s flight to Los Angeles.

Asking the… family to take a different flight was a decision that was made with careful consideration and was based on the behavior of the teen. Our Newark customer service team worked with the family in an attempt to make Bede as comfortable as possible. Unfortunately, the crew determined he was still agitated, and at that point the [family members] were asked to take an alternate flight…

[W]e will be refunding the upgrade fees.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Abradax says:

    I do need to point out your “simply not true” isn’t so simple. In the blog you linked to, it states while it isn’t against federal law, state or local laws or ordinances might make it illegal.

    Not exactly simple.

    • servo90 says:

      Yes, that statement about not being allowed to record is simply not true. Courts have upheld filming as protected First Amendment activities. Read the Glik V Cunniffe Case. Even if those ordinances exist, they are unconstitutional.

      • George4478 says:

        I believe you are overstating the reach and effect of Glik.

        Glik was a First Circuit Court decision and non-binding in the Third Circuit (where Newark is). Has the Supreme Court decided a case on this yet?

        in addition, Glik held that “held that a private citizen has the right to videotape public officials in a public place…”. Has this been extended to private employees in a semi-publiclly-accessible workplace?

        Since this filming happened at the gate, the link to TSA rules about filming at security screening was irrelevant.

        Newark’s policy is in the Port Authority’s Extended Photography Policy (which i could not locate online, only some phone numbers for inquiry)

        So, at the moment, it may be illegal to film in the gates at Newark Airport. It is defnitely not ‘simple’.

    • nugatory says:

      what do state laws have to do with airports and airplanes? aren’t they controlled by federal law only?

    • bluline says:

      Local ordinances don’t override the First Amendment to the Constitution.

      Even the TSA’s own website makes it clear that recording the security area is legal, although many TSA gropers aren’t smart enough to understand that.

      • axhandler1 says:

        Yep. From the website:

        Q. Is it okay to take pictures or videos inside the airport and at a checkpoint?
        A. TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations; however, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances may. We recommend contacting your local airport authority in advance to ensure you are familiar with their local procedures. While TSA does not prohibit the public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping, or filming at screening locations, TSA may ask a photographer to stop if they are interfering with the screening process or taking photos of X-ray monitor screens in a checkpoint. The same guidelines apply to media. Members of the press should contact TSA’s Office of Public Affairs, at 571-227-2829, prior to filming or taking photographs at a security checkpoint.

        While there is a difference between taking a casual photo and someone conducting surveillance, travelers should not be surprised if TSA or local law enforcement inquires about their actions. This is important to ensure the safety of the traveling public and something our officers may do as part of their security mission.

        • bluline says:

          They may inquire, but I’m under no obligation to respond.

          • longfeltwant says:

            It’s true. You are under no obligation to response, just like they are under no obligation to let you on the plane. A ticket isn’t a guarantee. Their suspicion is sufficient for action.

            That’s different than, say, a police officer on the street. If you are stopped for no reason, then they *are* obligated to let you go, and their suspicion is *not* sufficient for action.

            • Robert Nagel says:

              They can deny you boarding for any reason unless it is illegal under ADA or other laws. This young man is obviously a Down Syndrome child and as such his danger to the pilot is non-existant. If this kid can get through the door a terrorist certainly could. In this case they need to be getting some serious money refunded from the company that sold them the door upgrade.

              • RvLeshrac says:

                I’m not sure what world you live in, but individuals with Down’s Syndrome are often several times stronger than “normal” individuals. It is perfectly reasonable to consider someone with Down’s in an unfamiliar environment a threat.

      • George4478 says:

        The First Amendment has not been held to mean “filming anyone, anywhere, anytime” by the Supreme Court. The concept of ‘reasonable restriction’ has been around a long time.

        There are state, county, and city ordinances all across the country that define what is allowed or disallowed; what they consider ‘reasonable’. Lawsuits and court cases change these laws around, but to say that they can’t exist…

        • El_Fez says:

          The First Amendment has not been held to mean “filming anyone, anywhere, anytime” by the Supreme Court. The concept of ‘reasonable restriction’ has been around a long time.

          Pretty much it comes down to a reasonable expectation of privacy (which you dont have) and certain classified installations (which American Airlines is not). Meaning that stewardess can fuck off – it’s A-OK to photograph on a plane.

          (and with a completely analog camera, I can do it during takeoff! Suck it, airlines!)

          • RvLeshrac says:

            If the stewardess tells you it isn’t OK to photograph on the plane, it isn’t OK to photograph on the plane. Period. There is no court in the land which will agree with your overriding the instructions of the flight crew.

  2. VegasGuy says:

    Makes you wonder if they needed the seats for an executive or another non-revenue passenger. Certainly wouldn’t be the first time this happened.

    On another note, these people should realize that airlines are not governed under the Americans with Disabilites Act. They fall under the Air Carrier Access Act.

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Assuming the video is legit and they grab an eye witness or two, this is a slam dunk ADA win for them. I hope the damages incurred are high, American.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Well the problem, as I say below, is just because the kid was calm after being denied boarding doesn’t mean he was calm before the video was started.

      • bluline says:

        “The dad tells KTLA they were told his son’s proximity to the cockpit was a cause for concern to the pilot.”

        And this is BS as well. All cockpit doors are reinforced and locked and have been since 9/11. Proximity has nothing to do with it.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          But the pilots might catch THE DOWN SYNDROME!!!
          And AIDS. People with Down Syndrome are well-known to spread the AIDS disease through coughing or staring at your with the stink eye. Even through a bullet-proof door.

          True fact.

          • El_Fez says:

            AIRPORT 1981: THE DOWN SYNDROME, with George Kennedy and Charlton Heston and a doomed cast of All-Star extras like Sonny Bono, Sid Caesar, Norman Fell, Lorne Greene and starring Shelley Winters as “Clare”

            Now in SENSURROUND!

        • longfeltwant says:

          Yes, but the doors also unlock and open multiple times during flight, as pilots — like everyone — respond to nature. We still don’t allow congregating at the front toilets. Proximity is, in my opinion, a small but reasonable concern.

          I don’t have enough facts to judge this situation. In the video, it sounds to me like the mother was the one who should have been denied flight. She was hysterical. The kid was simply eating his hat, but it’s hard to know what shenanigans he was pursuing before the video started.

          If the parents themselves stated that they flew with this kid many times before, then to me that lends credibility to the claim that his behavior was the problem, not his syndrome.

      • Velvet Jones says:

        I saw the same thing last year. Kid with down syndrome, looked to be about 14-15, screaming like a hysterical two year old just minutes before the flight. Fortunately he calmed down and was calm on the plane, but is kind of worrisome. I didn’t think he was dangerous, I just didn’t want to be stuck on a two hour flight with a screaming teenager. If kid was big then I can see the flight crew having a concern. A five year old does not have the strength of a 15 or 16 year old, so the comparison by the parents is not exactly valid.

        • Geekybiker says:

          Exactly. Restraining a 4-5 year old is easy. Not so for a grown man without risking injury to the crew or other passengers.

    • floraposte says:

      ADA doesn’t actually apply to air transportation. It’s the ACAA.

      • Rocinante says:

        And what exactly are the damages and how would the parents prove it? AA was careful in what they told the parents.

    • stevenpdx says:

      ADA doesn’t allow for money damages. It only allows for injunctive relief (fixing the issue).

  4. benminer says:

    “My son is no different from a 4 or 5 year old as far as behavior,”

    The behavior of a 4 year old with the strength and weight of an adult. Not exactly the same thing as a 4 year old.

    Not saying the airline was right, but to say your adult-sized son is just like a 4 year old is silly.

    • EP2012 says:

      Good point… a 4 year-old taking a tantrum is quite different from a teen.

      And when saying how behaved their son is, did they really have to use a video of him eating his hat? Seriously. 0_o

      • Black Knight Rebel says:

        He probably thought to himself “Man, if they don’t let me in on first class even though I’m behaving well, I’ll eat my hat!”

        He obviously saw where things were going and being a man of honor made good on his self-imposed gamble.

      • fleef says:


    • dcarrington01 says:

      HULK SMASH!!!

  5. TuxthePenguin says:

    He said, she said. Were there any other passengers aboard that can verify one story or the other?

  6. StarKillerX says:

    The fact that the kid was calm after they were told they were unable to board doesn’t mean he was calm before that.

    Unless either side has other passengers in that area supporting them it’s basically a he said, she said and none of us will ever know what really happened.

    • Audiyoda28 says:

      Never dealt with a kid with downs have you? They are notoriously consistent in their actions – if he was sitting in that video, it’s about as sure a thing as there is that he had been doing the same since getting to the boarding area. I know two families with downs kids, and I’ve helped out at the local Special Olympics for the past 4 events. Downs kids exceptionally even keeled – even during a sporting event. They are also some of the nicest people I’ve met in my life.

      • axiomatic says:

        Agreed… they have no guile. Without guile there is no duplicity. I have a friend with two downs children. The only time I ever see them upset is if someone is accosting them.

        • StarKillerX says:

          It never said he was being “bad” simply that he was wound up, and yes I’ve dealt with children with downs and while they can be very even keeled, as you said, that does not mean they can not get worked up and “hyper” so to speak.

      • mgchan says:

        Saying that those with Down syndrome are “even keeled” and that this person’s behavior is always the same is an overgeneralization.

        I’ve had to perform procedures on patients with Down syndrome (most commonly bone marrow biopsies due to leukemia, less so gastrojejunostomy tubes due to duodenal atresia). Although some are calm, others will freak out in a new environment or when they perceive something different. And yes, an adult with Down syndrome acting like a 4 year old is very different from a 4 year old acting like a 4 year old. It takes a lot more strength to hold them down.

        Again, don’t know who’s wrong here based on the video. News teams and people threatening to sue tend present a very one sided truth.

  7. scoosdad says:

    “For the safety of the young man and the safety of other, American Airlines offered to book another flight for the family.”

    I guess we won’t know if American planned on booking them into first class on another flight or not. If they hadn’t, then this family’s claim would have been stronger. But they rebooked on another airline and probably weakened any case they had against American. American claims they were booted because of concerns of this captain and crew. That’s the captain’s prerogative. But to have it happen a second time, then it becomes an issue of AA policy.

    • Jay911 says:

      By that line of thinking, a captain would be well within his rights to have a person ejected from the plane just for being Arab, because “it’s his prerogative”. Doesn’t make it right.

  8. RandomHookup says:

    I always wonder about the “for the safety of the passengers & crew” crap. We bumped you from our flight onto another flight where you can cause problems. Off of our hands…

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      It sounds like there where precautions taken on the next flight. They were placed in the back of the plane and the airline cleared several rows to create a buffer.

      That sounds nuts. There must be some piece of the story we aren’t hearing, but it also sounds like AA overreacted and lost a lot of credibility with the filming bit.

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        Hmm, JFK airport under the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey does appear to have rules against video and photography. Whether they would hold up in this context or not is very debatable.

      • StarKillerX says:

        Personally I would have just said “I refuse to talk to you if your going to be filming me.”

        The reasoning is very simple, there is nothing that employee can do that will help the airline’s case but even the most innocent statement could potentially damage the airlines legal position.

        • bluline says:

          The employees already are being recorded by the airport’s security system, so what’s the difference if a customer records them?

          • Kuri says:

            That the airport can conveniently lose the footage.

          • StarKillerX says:

            The security cameras at the airport wouldn’t be able to pick out the conversation they are having, even if it has audio.

          • longfeltwant says:

            The security cameras at the airport wouldn’t be provided to the local news and put on YouTube. Most Americans are on camera a majority of the time when they are outside of their houses, and most of us abide that, but that doesn’t mean we like to be recorded by a hysterical woman who is screaming at us.

            • Madkins007 says:

              “Most Americans are on camera a majority of the time…” is a city-centric statement. As one moves away from the population-dense megaplexes, cameras become much less common. There are almost 309 million Americans, only about 42 million live in the top 15 most populous cities where the population density makes this statement realistic. Most of us are barely on camera during our day, and lots of us can go days without being on camera. Just saying.

    • highfructosepornsyrup says:

      IMO *in the moment* I’m fine with doing what the captain says. OTOH, that shouldn’t be the end of it. After you get booted from the plane, the captain should have to prove some reasonable cause for it, otherwise it’s just plain arbitrary.

  9. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    It should be pointed out that this staffer repeatedly tells the mother it’s illegal to videotape inside of the airport, which is simply not true.

    Airline gate agents tell more lies in a single day than any other profession, their only real competition being strippers.

  10. AjariBonten says:

    so, THIS is how businesses commit suicide ………………………….. one small step at a time ………..

  11. Aliciaz777 says:

    It seems to me the airline staff just assumed that because the child has downs, he would automatically cause a scene at some point during the flight, so they took a “better safe than sorry” approach and removed them before take off, and that makes my stomach turn. I hope the family wins big in their lawsuit.

  12. iesika says:

    The airport presumably has security footage that could be subpoenaed. That would settle the question of whether the kid was posing a danger to anybody. My guess is that he was not.

    I spent three years of my life working in supportive services for teenagers with Downs, and the closest thing to “danger” I ever encountered was getting hug-crushed or my hand squeezed a little too hard during something scary. As a previous commenter said, Downs kids are remarkably consistent. If the boy’s flown with no incident in the past, then he almost certainly understands the rules of flying and how he’s supposed to behave.

    • Madkins007 says:

      By the same token, the pilot, airline staff, and airport staff have worked with kids with Downs as well, and most of the time there is no problem. If THIS child was singled out, it strongly suggests something was going on.

  13. HogwartsProfessor says:

    It might have been one employee with a misunderstanding of people with Down syndrome, who told someone else, and with their authority to remove people, this happened. It seems every time we hear a story like this, though, there is little evidence for exactly who did what. But we have plenty of stories about draconian airline employees.

    I sent in a good story about American. Maybe they’ll post it and balance this out.

  14. oldwiz65 says:

    The rich people in first class do not want to have to deal with anyone not fully “normal”. I bet it was some rich person with a dog in her lap complaining. The airline should have given him a free first class upgrade on the next flight and an apology.

    • cactus jack says:

      Wow, someone is a bit bitter over their status in life.

      Why do you assume rich people “do not want to have to deal with anyone not fully “normal?” This is about as idiotic as saying poor people drink out of the toilet and smell awful.

      Not all rich people have dogs.

      You owe rich people an apology.

    • MuleHeadJoe says:

      I’m not rich enough to be considered rich, and I’ve never ever flown first class. But if I ever were to be rich enough to be considered rich, and were to fly in first class, I would not want a funkatronic creepazoid of any age, race, ethnicity, or ability-ness to be located anywhere near me. I understand the kid has a disability. I don’t care about it, or him. If I’m riding in first class carriage, I am there specifically because I am seeking a nice calm luxurious environment for my own pleasure and would not appreciate that being intruded upon in any way, shape or form.

      The only “Downs Syndrome” kids I’ve ever known are those that played “Downs Syndrome” kids on TV. And it was only one kid, not plural, and I didn’t actually know him, just saw him. He was alright. However, I’ve seen plenty of other “developmentally disabled” (aka Retards) IRL and do not like being anywhere around gibbering slobber monkeys if I have a choice in the matter. The kid was eating his own hat. That ain’t right. For all I know, his next choice of comestible will be my face. I’d rather not deal with that, thank you very much.

      • cactus jack says:

        First class on most domestic flights isn’t that big of a deal. Beyond drinks, decent meal, and bigger chair/space, it’s still the same old musty AA plane. I’ve flown first on Delta and AA and the cabins just looked old and worn. It’s not going to be the pure luxury experience you’re making it out to be.

        And you seem to be a bit of a prick.

      • srf1078 says:

        I’m pretty sure I’d pick the kid over you from what I know, if given the choice. If there is a such thing as karmic justice tools like you reproduce and get kids that eat hats.

        I’ve sat next to full size men that have a few drinks and act like what you’ve just described. Good luck on that CALM LUXURIOUS ENVIRONMENT within the confines of an American Airlines cabin.

      • some.nerd says:

        LOL… comment of the week, fo’ sho’.

    • PeriMedic says:

      I think there is an outdated notion of the majority of First Class pax. Pre-frequent flyer miles, FC was filled with the rich and the non-rev employees. Now it is primarily people using miles to upgrade, unless you are on the JFK-LAX flights around Oscar time. It’s nearly impossible to be a non-rev employee that gets to sit up there anymore (paying-pax-booting, positive-free-space-riding, bankruptcy-enabling corporate managers excluded).

  15. Jay911 says:

    “The pilot attempted to calm him down” – unfortunately for all involved, this isn’t going to solve anything. I’m 99% sure the pilot isn’t trained in dealing with people with developmental concerns. While it may be his decision whether or not the kid flies, he should be deferring the expert knowledge to someone else who does know the situation.

    Yeah, I know it’s not difficult to tell the difference between someone freaking out/having a tantrum/etc and someone who is calm/docile/etc, but a pilot isn’t going to be able to mitigate a situation like that, because he doesn’t have the skills and expertise necessary. My 6-year-old niece is a non/pre-verbal autistic child. She is often stubborn when it comes to following her mother’s instructions. Her mother can control her quite well if given the chance to respond to a situation. Some people, like the lifeguards at the local pool, don’t understand that. When my niece runs on the pool deck or jumps in whilst holding on to the side of the pool, they try to lecture her, and get upset when she doesn’t pay attention to them. A pilot trying to “control” a child with Down syndrome would be in the same boat – ill-equipped to accomplish what he is trying to set out to do.

    • msbaskx2 says:

      Why wouldn’t a lifeguard get frustrated when someone breaks the rules repeatedly and then doesn’t listen to them?

      If you niece can only listen to one person, shouldn’t that one person be there at all times telling her how to behave?

      • Jay911 says:

        She is there at all times and deals with the situation appropriately, but that’s not the point. It’s not a case of misbehaving – it’s a case of being unable to communicate properly. Appropriate analogies would include trying to lecture a non-English speaker without an interpreter present, or yelling at the back of a deaf person. Similarly, someone who is qualified to fly Embraers and CRJs isn’t necessarily appropriately trained to address the needs of someone with Down syndrome.

        Then again, everyone is always trying to tell you how to do your job (or trying to do it for you) in this world. People give us firefighters grief for not parachuting out of the sky 15 seconds after they phone 9-1-1, putting out their burning car, and leaving it in better shape than when it caught fire. No reason to believe that an airline pilot wouldn’t think that he has what it takes to deal with what he probably just considered an unruly kid.

    • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

      How do you know the pilot didn’t try to “calm him down” by having a calm discussion with him, asking/telling him about the plane and maybe offering him some pilot wings, etc…

      You can calm people down without disciplining them or lecturing them. You can do it by distracting them from what may be upsetting them and offering them a pleasant alternative.

  16. ancientone567 says:

    Sounds to me like some rich people in first class did not want to sit next to your retarded son.

  17. Jawaka says:

    So basically the kids parents are annoyed but pretty much everyone else on the plane released a sigh of relief.

  18. Press1forDialTone says:

    First class is for rich people who DON’T have Down’s Syndrome afflicted with them.
    Unless of course you are a major investor in American Airlines, then it’s all just fine.
    Companies always roll over for the 1% in -every- situation. I hope they sue for a
    huge amount and win win win. American’s response is completely consistent with
    what they have carved in “internal” policy. It is less expensive for them to deal with
    the suit than to deal with disgruntled 1% folks along for the flight in first class.

  19. fleef says:

    Isn’t it written someplace that airline pilots are allowed to deny boarding to ANYONE for any reason they feel like? Sounds to me the parents do this all the time, holding everyone hostage threatening the world with their lawsuits. I wonder how many other suits this annoying woman has in her past.

    And teenagers with Downs have the strength of a gorilla. I would NOT feel comfortable with that kid on my flight if he exhibited excitable behavior for sure. Scary.

    • Xalius says:

      Well, no. Airlines are subject to the Air Carrier Access Act and cannot discriminate on the basis of disability. Among other things, (1) “[a]irlines may not refuse transportation to people on the basis of disability,” unless carrying the person would be “inimical to the safety of the flight;” and (2) “[a]irlnes may not keep anyone out of a specific seat on the basis of disability” (except exit rows).” A description of the Act is available online at

    • Xalius says:

      Well, no. Airlines are subject to the Air Carrier Access Act and cannot discriminate on the basis of disability. Among other things, (1) “[a]irlines may not refuse transportation to people on the basis of disability,” unless carrying the person would be “inimical to the safety of the flight;” and (2) “[a]irlnes may not keep anyone out of a specific seat on the basis of disability” (except exit rows).” A description of the Act is available online at

  20. crummybum11 says:

    Where is Sarah Palin when you need her to comment on something?

  21. Rocket80 says:

    I wish they could just admit this was a business decision – alienate a family of 3? or risk potentially alienating 20+ good paying customers in first class who probably don’t want some annoying and obnoxious teenager ruining their flight?

    Tough call imo. If a company makes more money with decision A over decision B, how can it be argued they made the decision based on prejudice and discrimination? They made it based on profit, as business decisions should be made.

    • srf1078 says:

      You make the assumption that the only person able to disrupt a flight and become a nuisance is going to be someone with developmental delays.

  22. joeventura says:

    It is NOT a slam dunk ADA violation.
    This is about two things:

    1. Behavior
    2. The airlines right to deny anyone boarding.

    He was denied boarding based on the captains observations at the time of the observations, not at the time they started rolling video.

    If the person had downs syndrome and was drunk then they can never be denied boarding because they have a disability? How about a drunk person in a wheel chair? What about an obese person? A drunk obese person? A drunk obese person in a wheelchair? Hell they can never be denied boarding right?

    If the kid was bouncing around the boarding area like a rubber ball then they don’t need to be in the front row near an exit door.

    For the record I HATE THIS AIRLINE with every ounce of my being.

    Mom and Dad should know better, carry a bottle of Nyquil or Benedryl like us responsible parents do when our kids fly.

    • humphrmi says:

      LOL Benedryl for the win! I used to get comments – people actually came up to me and told me – how well behaved my kids were on airplanes. All is possible with the power of pharmaceuticals.

  23. some.nerd says:

    Off-topic, I know, but am I the only one who thinks interviews broadcast on TV news, conducted via skype, constitute lazy journalism?

    • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

      Sometimes there is not a local affiliate, and perhaps the parents were worried that if they brought the teen to a station/had a station visit them, then the teen would misbehave, and hurt their case?

  24. GandyDancer says:

    In viewing the news video, the reporter states the family was ostracized on a later flight. They were allocated seats at the rear of the plane and no other passengers were allowed to sit near them. Regardless of the story prior to their later flight, the manner in which the airline treated them on the later flight is another issue itself. Their disparate treatment is another case of discrimination under ADA.

    While we may never know the full story, the evidence continues to mount that American Airlines has some serious, and unlawful, company practices. Why anyone continues to fly with them is beyond me.

    • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

      That later flight was on another carrier of the parent’s choice, United Airlines.

      • PeriMedic says:

        For the record, we don’t have all the information here (like witnesses or video of the entire time the kid was in the airport), but this point is interesting to note. A completely different airline (and historical nemesis of AA) felt compelled to take extraordinary measures with the family, too. Why? If there was no observed problem, I would wager that they would have taken the opportunity to stick it to AA by putting them in First Class and trumpeting to the family and press what a more understanding and tolerant company they were, and they should always choose United. But United didn’t do that; they put them in airplane Siberia by the toilets and with the most bumpy, unpleasant ride. Makes me wonder.