Boy with Down Syndrome denied first class

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by legalmania, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. legalmania

    legalmania Verified Paralegal

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    A 16 yr old with down syndrome denied first class. Security claims the boy was a security risk. A video shows the boy sitting and waiting for his plane playing with his hat. Some risk.

    American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said the disabled boy was agitated and running around the gate area prior to boarding, which his parents dispute. The airplane's pilot observed the boy, Miller said, and made the call based on his behavior.
    I think the airline owes this family a hugh apology, not to mention compensation.

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/09/boy_with_down_syndrome_is_deem.html
     
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  3. Ms Suzanne

    Ms Suzanne Active Member

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    I think they owe him an apology too.It was heart breaking to hear his mom cry.I do think it was wrong they did this to this boy.How many other kids run around at other times and are not signaled out like this.I would sue them too.I also think the man needs to be fired.
     
  4. legalmania

    legalmania Verified Paralegal

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    I would pick a child with down syndrome on my flight before a two yr old. I have found children with down syndrome to be sweet and respectful, and just adorable.
     
  5. zippitydoda

    zippitydoda Well-Known Member

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    I don'tknow what really happened here - but other passengers should be able to speak of what they observed when this is investigated.
     
  6. i.b.nora

    i.b.nora I am polka dot

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    Robert Vanderhorst is a Civil Litigation attorney in Porterville, California.

    Now it's just my opinion but I think there is more to this story than has been reported and I also wonder if the civil litigation business is slow in the Porterville area?
     
  7. Sonya610

    Sonya610 Former Member

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    The thread title is misleading. He was not denied "First Class" and put in Coach, he was simply not allowed on the plane.

    After 9/11 there were numerous incidents of flights having to land and suffer delays because mentally unstable individuals would freak out, that is not fair to the other passengers. The pilots KNOW this sort of thing can cause a media frenzy and lawsuits, they would not deny a passenger such as this unless they believed there could be a problem.
     
  8. legalmania

    legalmania Verified Paralegal

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    He was denied first class, the parents upgraded to first class and then denied boarding of the plane, they were put on a different flight where they were put in the last row.

    On the second airplane, the family was placed in the last row and no passengers were allowed to sit within two rows of them, Vanderhorst said.

    They were treated unacceptability. This was a child with a disability, not as you say an unstable individual. This child has flown several times without incident. IMO this was a act of discrimination.
     
  9. zippitydoda

    zippitydoda Well-Known Member

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    http://consumerist.com/2012/09/fami...nt-son-with-down-syndrome-in-first-class.html

    STATEMENT FROM AMERICAN TO CONSUMERIST

    The young man was very excitable and running around the gate area prior to boarding. Our pilot noticed and asked a Customer Service Manager to talk to the family to see if we could help him calm down and get better acclimated to the situation. That effort was ultimately unsuccessful, and we made the decision to have the family rebooked on a different flight out of concern for the young man's safety and the safety of other passengers. The family chose not to fly American, so we helped re-accommodate them on another carrier's flight to Los Angeles.

    Asking the family to take a different flight was a decision that was made with careful consideration and was based on the behavior of the teen. Our Newark customer service team worked with the family in an attempt to make Bede as comfortable as possible. Unfortunately, the crew determined he was still agitated, and at that point the [family members] were asked to take an alternate flight...

    We will be refunding the upgrade fees.

    Not saying that airlines can'tmake mistakes, but this family has made the rounds on my area tv stations (NYC/NJ). It's their right to do so, but I would expect that there are lots of people who were on this flight and in the boarding area who witnessed most of everything and will give their statement on what they saw happen.

    I can't imagine that the airline removed him because they simply did not want the 16 year old in first class. Something happened, I just can't take the word of his parents alone.
     
  10. legalmania

    legalmania Verified Paralegal

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    I can I have sat with some of the people in first class. They don't want any noise, or any disturbances. They hated me because I talked the entire time. I wouldn't be surprised if some big wig was in first class and talked to the pilot and said he didn't want any children there. Oddly enough he was fine to sit in the back of the plane but not the front.
     
  11. zippitydoda

    zippitydoda Well-Known Member

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    Maybe thats what happened, or maybe the 16 year old acted in a manner that caused concern.

    The family were 1st class passengers too....

    I did notice that the Mom is very upset in her self made cell video and did make lots of noise - which is another concern for the airline and security. Shouting in a crowded terminal is not acceptable and she pointed and screamed at other passengers who are not involved in the situation. I understand her frustation, but she may have esculated the situation.

    I fully expect the many people who were in the area during the pre board will come forth and clear this up.
     
  12. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    Of course they did! If not, why were they so readily willing to book the same family on another flight? If the kid is a danger on one flight, he's surely a danger on another!

    This is about protecting American's richer clients from some perceived disturbance. It has everything to do with small-mindedness and nothing to do with safety.
     
  13. zippitydoda

    zippitydoda Well-Known Member

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    where you there and know this? Big bad airlines, yeah I get it I fly often.. lets wait until others who saw what really occurred comment, and they will...
     
  14. Sonya610

    Sonya610 Former Member

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    They booked him on ANOTHER flight because they hoped he would be more manageable at a later time! They booked him on another flight with 2 EMPTY ROWS between him and the other passengers!

    They COULD have just said "sorry, find another route, ticket price will be refunded" but instead they likely reassigned seats on another flight to give this family extra space and they are STILL being sued! So much for trying to accommodate! No good deed goes unpunished these days!
     
  15. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    Some people are so blinded by authority they will go to any length to defend abuse of power. It's a culture-wide form of Stockholm syndrome, I assume.

    If the child was actually deemed a safety hazard, he would not have been allowed on any plane. They would not have taken the chance of "hoping" he would "calm down". That would be like "hoping" the shoe bomber will decide to change into bedroom slippers.

    American decided their first class passengers were too important to be bothered by this young man. But as for coach passengers like me, tough luck. And that much is okay with me: I can cope with a little difference.
     
  16. zippitydoda

    zippitydoda Well-Known Member

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    I've been sat in the back of the plane, and also been pleasantly upgraded to 1st class (work wont pay, but sometimes I get lucky) I've seen all kinds of folks in 1st class. Its not just the rich and jerky who sit there - sometimes a zippy makes it there too.
     
  17. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    zip, I'm sure you fit in anywhere you go.
     
  18. Sonya610

    Sonya610 Former Member

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    Yes, I have flown coach all my life but last year I sacrificed and paid 3 times the coach fair to fly first class. Why? Because I really wanted/needed a relaxing flight on a certain trip.

    I am not rich, not by a long shot, but I splurged. You can be darn sure I would have been very very upset if I spent 3 times the price of a regular ticket and I was subjected to obnoxious or otherwise unpleasant/distracting behavior. I paid a whole lot extra for a non-stressful experience and I would have wanted the difference in price back if the flight turned into a nightmare! Granted I wouldn't care about a kid running about acting crazy or trying to get into the cockpit (unless there was a delay) as long as they were QUIET, but if there was screaming or the kicking of seats, big problem!
     
  19. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    But not a problem because my ticket only cost me $500 instead of $1500? Traveling with other people always carries the risk of interruption and distraction.

    The solution is renting a private plane, not creating a "back of the bus" for people with down syndrome.
     
  20. Reality Orlando

    Reality Orlando Verified Aquaculturalist

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    I worked for 12 years with kids with autism and down's. My years with the school district were cut short when an autistic 12 year-old had an episode during the last week of school when his daily ration of french fries were not available (they weren't making hot lunches the last week of school). While trying to restrain him so he wouldn't hurt himself (head banger) a huge cop got a broken nose and by the time we were finally able to get him calmed down I had a dislocated shoulder and the miniscus (sp?) in my knee was torn and required surgery. My shoulder required pins. Yet, 20 minutes later you'd never even know anything was wrong with him. He was his usual very lovable self. He blew me kisses when I passed him on my way to the emergency room.

    It's often advisable to allow children with disabilities to get back into their space rather than push them if agitated. We always removed the student to a neutral place in similar situations not only for the well being of others, but for the kid's benefit as well. A 16 year old losing control in the confines of an airplane could have been a very tough situation to get a handle on. Tough call either way. What would the airline's position be if that behavior was noticed before the flight, it continued and a passenger was hurt. No win situation for the airline but I think they made the right call. JMO.
     
  21. Sonya610

    Sonya610 Former Member

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    The solution is for people to have standards of behavior. Crazy concept, huh? If the kid was so hyper he caused a scene in the waiting area the parents should prepare better next time. I.e. better as in Benadryl or VALIUM!

    And if that isn't suitable then the PARENTS can hire a private jet (or drive) instead of risking the comfort and safety of hundreds of other people! The PILOT thought the child was a risk, yet somehow the special needs of one outweigh the needs of hundreds?

    And just how does anyone know the child just has downs syndrome? Because the mother said so?
     

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