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. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
A woman says that Alaska Airlines kicked her family off a flight to Seattle (SEA) on Monday after her teenage brother with Down syndrome vomited a small amount.
Meaghan Hess, a third-year law student and staffer for the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, was not traveling with her family from St. Louis (STL) to Seattle (SEA) on Alaska Flight 779 on Monday. However, in a written statement Hess says that her brother had just boarded the flight when flight attendants asked him and his parents to deplane.
“After boarding the flight, Patrick threw up a little and the airline workers kicked my family off the flight,” Hess said in the statement.
Alaska then rebooked the family on a flight the following morning, although it did not offer to pay for accommodations overnight. Hess said that an Alaska representative told her father that the family should have been charged for the reaccommodation on the flight the following day, but the airline was instead extending the comped flight as a courtesy.
Hess said that the airline left them “stranded at the airport for nearly eleven hours knowing that my family had nowhere to go for the night. Instead, all they did was hand my parents a black garbage bag, saying that my brother could just throw up in that.”
On the flight the following day, the three travelers were upgraded first class, where flight attendants reportedly gave the teenager “a black trash bag” for their trip home to Washington.
Hess told NBC News that in a direct message on Twitter, a representative from Alaska said: “I’m truly sorry for your family’s experience. Safety of all passengers is our number one priority. I am glad to see that we re-booked them at no fee in the morning. I apologize that we cannot provide hotels in these situations.”
A spokeswoman from Alaska later said that the teenager posed a potential health threat. “The family was not able to depart on their original flight because the family’s child was visibly ill,” she said. “Out of an abundance of caution the agent determined that the child was not fit to fly. In the case of a medical-related situation, it is safer for guests to be treated on the ground, as our crew are not trained medical professionals.”
The airline also said that it’s looking into how the incident was handled and has reached out to the family to better understand what happened.
Hess said she’s not satisfied with Alaska’s response, calling the treatment “disability discrimination.”
“I can’t help but think if a non-disabled child that threw up, would the airline have kicked that family off the flight,” she said.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards