Rachel Starr Davis and her two-year-old son Lyon had just boarded an American Airlines flight from North Carolina to Manchester on Thursday when she says she was quickly confronted by a flight attendant who said Lyon needed to put on a mask.
“And I said well we’ve been on three other legs of our flight with American Airlines and they’ve never asked us to put a mask on him,” said Davis of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “She said if it’s going to be a problem, you won’t be able to stay on this flight.”
Davis says as hard as she tried to put a mask on Lyon, he just wasn’t having it.
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Soon, a supervisor arrived and told Davis every passenger would be taken off, and she and her son wouldn’t be allowed back on.
“I’m literally shaking, holding a piece of cloth up to my son’s face, saying please, I’m begging him, I just wanted to get home,” she said.
When everyone was taken off the flight, the tension boiled over inside the terminal in Charlotte.
“In that moment I just kind of lost it,” she said.
Rachel said it was a level of frustration she had never felt before.
“They handled it so unprofessionally,” she said. “And with no compassion or human decency.”
In a statement, American Airlines said in part, “To ensure the safety of our customers and team, American Airlines requires all persons 2 years and older to wear an appropriate face covering...we’ve reached out to the family to learn about their recent travel experience…”
Rachel, whose post about the incident on social media garnered tens of thousands of comments, says the airline staff wasn’t being reasonable in dealing with a mom and her toddler.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t want to comply,” she said. “And that’s what they kept saying was you’re not complying with our policy and making me out to be this defiant person that I wasn’t, and so it made me even more defensive.”
Rachel and her son were rebooked on a later flight that day to Manchester.
She’s hoping for a formal apology from the airline for how the situation was handled.