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Southwest Airlines Boots Another Family From Because Toddler Threw Face Mask Tantrum

Southwest Airlines Boots Another Family From Because Toddler Threw Face Mask Tantrum

a blue airplane on the tarmac

Southwest Airlines has booted another family from one of its flights because a three-year-old toddler would not wear a face mask despite the best efforts of his parents. Eric Hansen from the Bay Area says he and his wife decided to voluntary deplane and let the flight leave without them when they thought the flight attendants were calling the police on them for their toddler’s refusal to wear a face mask.

“They should have given us more time, maybe walked away and said we will give you five or 10 minutes, but their flight was late so I think they were trying to make time they just wanted us off the plane and they didn’t give us any time to talk him through it and try to get him to put it on,” Hansen told local station KRON4.

The Hansen family were forced to spend an extra night in Las Vegas without any of their checked luggage after the incident onboard the San Jose bound Southwest Airlines flight last week. Hansen says the flight attendants and a gate agent treated his family “like criminals“.

To make matters worse, Hansen also alleges that flight attendants on the outbound Southwest Airlines let their 3-year-old child go without his mask because he couldn’t tolerate wearing it for the entire flight.

“If it’s not taken that seriously by the airline they shouldn’t be enforcing it on anybody and if they are taking it seriously they should be enforcing it on everybody all the time and that’s where the inconsistency is,” Hansen commented.

This isn’t the first time Southwest Airlines has thrown a family off one of its flights after a toddler threw a tantrum over the federal face mask mandate.

In one incident in April, Southwest booted a family off an Austin-bound flight because their two-year-old son wouldn’t wear a face mask. In that incident, a small plane pilot who has been hailed a “good Samaritan” stepped in to help the family get from Denver to Austin at no cost.

And in another incident, an Iowa family was refused boarding on a Southwest Airlines flight because their autistic five-year-old son who is non-verbal and also has sensory processing disorder refused to wear a face mask.

A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines said the carrier appreciated the “ongoing cooperation among our customers” for complying with the federal face mask mandate which applies to all customers aged two years and older.

“To assist this family with compliance, and as a gesture of goodwill, Southwest rebooked the Customers on another flight, free of any additional fare differences, to allow them more time to meet the requirements of the federal policy,” Southwest said in an emailed statement.

“We appreciate the ongoing cooperation among our customers as we work, collectively, to follow the federal mask mandate and support the comfort and wellbeing of all who travel with us during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

Last week, Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly said he would not be supporting an extension of the face mask mandate for fully vaccinated travellers based on current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for other indoor settings.

Photo Credit: Southwest Airlines / Stephen M. Keller

View Comments (4)
  • So did they “voluntary deplane” or were they “booted”. If they had already made their “best effort” what good would putting everybody through another 5 or 10 minute delay do? Did he wear the mask all the time up until this and then decide not to once on the plane?

    It just seems like most stories put the parents in such a good light, and the airlines as such villains. And am I reading it right that they are also complaining an FA gave them a break and overlooked the mask issue on another flight? They would have preferred “consistency”, and had the same situations on that flight? Otherwise don’t enforce the rules at all?

  • What has the world/US airline industry come to?
    Seems more like a mass psychosis the legislation, when you boot a three year old. Don’t know if I should laugh or cry?

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