American Airlines Removes Down Syndrome Passenger and Parents From First Class


American Airlines removed a family from a flight when it was decided a Down Syndrome child was agitated and might cause difficulty on the flight.  The family was returning to California after a family function on the east coast.  To make the story even more interesting, the family had upgraded to business class at a cost of $675.00.  When first reading the headline, I was fairly incensed.  Afterall, American is my airline, the one I’ve been flying every week for the past five weeks and fifteen years.  Then, upon reading the story in greater depth, I changed the way I felt although I still empathized with the family.  As it turns out, the child appeared agitated and was walking back and forth prior to boarding.  In addition, the boy “sometimes hums or talks to himself”, although his parents said he does it in a low voice.  While it is very sad, since when do the rights of an individual supersede the rights of the other one hundred eighty passengers on board.  Referring back to another post, I discussed why I don’t believe babies should be allowed in business or first class, the same holds true in this case.  The parents argument was they paid to be there just like everyone else.  But again, the added cost of those tickets should guarantee a peaceful flight by the airline for the other business class customers.  Finally, the captain of any ship, be it an airplane or sailboat, is the ultimate authority,  His opinion and judgement are the final word.  There are no so-called individual rights on his ship when he makes a decision, as long as there is a basis for rendering that decision.  In the end, the family was re-booked on another flight in coach and the upgrade fee was returned.  There will in all likelihood be a lawsuit since the father is an attorney.  However, the case, if brought, should be thrown out, assuming the captain acted reasonably, which it appears he did in this case.

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