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American Airlines Grounds Disabled Boy Traveling For Medical Appointment Over Test Mixup

American Airlines Grounds Disabled Boy Traveling For Medical Appointment Over Test Mixup

American Airlines has stopped a four-year-old disabled boy from flying to an important medical appointment because of a COVID-19 testing mix up. Michael Seklecki Jnr needs to get to Boston Children’s Hospital for his appointment on Wednesday but his family’s hopes of flying with AA from their home in Florida were dashed at the last minute.

The Seklecki’s have been fighting a court battle with American Airlines because they believe Michael Jnr should be granted a face mask exemption on account of his disabilities including Autism.

Last week, a federal judge sided with the family and ordered AA to grant Michael Jnr a temporary face mask exemption for the next 30 days while the lawsuit plays out in U.S. district court. It’s believed to be the biggest win so far for campaigners who have railed against the federal face mask mandate on airplanes.

American’s managing director of legal affairs Peter Soares wrote to the family last week to confirm that Michael Jnr would be allowed to fly bare-faced on a connecting domestic flight on Tuesday from Miami to Manchester-Boston regional airport.

Soares did, however, warn the family that the airline was granting the exemption on the condition that a negative COVID-19 test was obtained within 72 hours of travel.

The letter noted: “The test result must be provided to American Airlines at check-in for the MIA-DCA leg of the flight”.

The test requirement was for either a PCR test or a rapid antigen test so the Seklecki’s decided to use a free at-home antigen test provided by the federal government as part of the Biden administration’s program to improve testing access.

Self-administered home test kits don’t, however, come with a certificate of proof that the test was negative. AA’s website explains that passengers granted a face mask exemption must provide “documentation confirming a negative COVID test or recovery”.

Southwest Airlines also granted Michael Jnr a 30-day medical exemption but did not add a requirement for a negative COVID-19 test.

Michael Snr believes the testing requirement is illegal and has filed a petition to find AA in contempt of court.

The current face mask mandate is due to expire on March 18 but flight attendant unions have called for a further extension. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) which represents AA’s crewmembers believe the mandate helps protect young passengers who still don’t have access to a vaccine.

And the union which represents crew at United Airlines also backs up that argument and claims the mandate increases public confidence in the safety of air travel amidst the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hasn’t given any indication of whether the mandate might be extended.

View Comments (4)
  • Since the family is in litigation with AA, I wondered where in Florida they lived and what other carriers were available. A little fast searching on the ‘Net’ brought up that the family has also sued Spirit and Frontier and Frontier has banned one of the Seklecki family for life.

    Also, if one is traveling on AA only because of a federal judge’s 30 day order, I would make sure to comply with all of the minutia of the airline’s policy. Perhaps the family was a little remiss in simply relying on an at-home kit, regardless of whether it was one “provided by the federal government as part of the Biden administration’s program to improve testing access” which seems a little gratuitous on the part of the blogger. I could also show a viewpoint by expressing dismay that the father elected to air his grievances with Frontier by appearing on the Laura Ingraham show, a broadcast noted for fair and unbiased reporting.

  • Why would the family think an at-home covid test you can literally have anyone take would qualify> obviously the negative test has to have the person’s name on it. Can’t help stupid people i suppose.

  • These people have sacrificed their sons health for their own purpose. A home-test does not qualify for anything anywhere in the world as there is no proof it was actually taken.

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