Spirit Airlines removes autistic boy, 4, from flight for not wearing mask, ignores doctor's note to exempt him
The family from Little Rock have flown with Spirit several times in the past and never faced any issues until this flight from Las Vegas to Arkansas
A four-year-old boy with autism was kicked off a Spirit Airlines flight on Monday, March 15, for not wearing a mask. The boy from Arkansas was carrying a note from his doctor, exempting him from mask mandates due to his condition, which the airline had accepted during their flight to their destination. Their flight back, however, would not allow the little boy called Carter Kimball on the flight and forced him and his father to deboard, despite having flown with the same airline several times, claims his mother.
In a conversation with KTHV-TV, Carter's mother Callie Kimball said her son and husband were kicked off Spirit Airlines' return flight via Dallas when the two were returning from a visit to family in Las Vegas. Callie told the outlet that she and her husband had flown multiple times with their severely autistic, non-verbal son who also loves airplanes. Their physician-prescribed letter for traveling explains Carter is exempted from wearing a mask because of his disability as whenever he wears one, Callie says "he starts freaking out," "holds his breath," and "will harm himself."
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The family from Little Rock have always flown with Spirit and never faced any issues until the March 15 flight. As the father and son boarded, an employee of the airlines told them that "autism's not a disability" and "he has to wear a mask or he has to get off the plane." Things got worse when the airline wouldn't allow Carter's babysitter to deboard with the father and son. She was traveling with them to help with Carter, but the other two were stranded without her until they were finally able to catch an American Airlines flight for another $1,000. American accepted Carter's medical note while Spirit is yet to answer their request for a refund. "So we're out all of our flights, a thousand bucks and we have a son who's just distraught now that he like threw all of his airplanes down," the mother told KTHV.
The airlines is yet to comment on the incident.
This is not the first time a young autistic child has faced issues with Spirit Airlines. In September 2020, a Chicago family was left distraught when the airplanes banned their three-year-old son Cebastian Lewis for removing his mask on a return flight home. Spirit sent them a letter after making the entire plane de-board and filing a police report against the family during a layover on the journey.
WFLD-TV reported that Spirit claimed the family was being uncooperative along with hurling profanities. They shared: "Spirit released a statement, saying they require face covering during the entire flight. The only exceptions are children under 2. Travelers unable to wear them for any reason, including medical, won't be able to fly Spirit." Back in December 2020, as reported by MEAWW, a woman was seen weeping inconsolably in a viral video after she too faced the same from United Airlines this time.
Eliz Orban, the woman in the video, alleged that she along with her entire family were recently kicked off the flight because her two-year-old daughter refused to wear a face mask. The parents had boarded the flight from Colorado's Denver International Airport and were on their way to Newark International Airport in New Jersey after excitedly visiting the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree along their daughter for their annual holiday ritual.