Family Bumped From Their Southwest Flight to Disneyland Because of Lice Allegations
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
A family of four was bumped from their Southwest flight to Santa Ana on Friday after several other passengers accused one of their children of having lice. The Newmans were traveling on Southwest Flight 1652 from Chicago (MDW) to Santa Ana (SNA) and on to Oakland (OAK) for a family trip to Disneyland when accusations from other passengers got them bumped from their flight.
The Chicago family, with two daughters aged 4 and 6, were waiting in the gate area for their flight when J Newman’s wife noticed something on her daughter.
“There was some dry skin in my daughter’s hair,” J Newman — identified only with the initial — said to NBC Chicago. “So, she was just kind of taking it out of my daughter’s hair.”
About 30 minutes later, a Southwest gate agent approached the family. The agent told the family that customers had complained that after seeing the mother inspect her daughter’s hair, suspecting the daughter had lice. Although there was no confirmation the daughter actually had lice, the agent bumped the family from the flight.
According to Southwest, more than 10 customers approached employees “… about a fellow passenger in the gate area exhibiting behavior consistent with a highly contagious condition. Our employees are obligated to look into concerns that are raised by multiple customers and based on a conversation our employees had with the family before boarding the flight, we determined it would be best to rebook their travel for the following day.”
But the accusation and the bump left the Newmans scratching their heads — in a different way.
“We don’t even have lice,” J Newman said. “That’s the crazy thing. Our daughter doesn’t even have lice. So, why they would do this to us, I have no idea.”
Following the incident, the family said that Southwest offered to rebook them on a flight two days later, and it hadn’t compensated them for losses. The Newmans also said they believed they could have been bumped to accommodate standby passengers, as the flight was five hours delayed, but Southwest denies that claim. In April 2017, the carrier announced plans to discontinue overbookings.
On Tuesday, however, Southwest said that it has refunded the family the cost of their tickets. In addition, Southwest said that the family was reaccommodated.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.