PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire — A New Hampshire woman was not allowed to stay on an American Airlines flight with her 2-year-old son because he would not wear a mask, stoking a discussion about how to balance compassion with rules designed to keep others safe.
In an Instagram post, Rachel Starr Davis of Portsmouth said while she was boarding a plane in Charlotte, North Carolina, a flight attendant told her the airline’s policy is that all passengers over the age of 2 must wear a covering over their nose and mouth, the Portsmouth Herald reported.
Davis was flying with her mother and son to Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday, when her son refused to put on a mask, she wrote.
In her post, she said she “did everything I could while he was screaming and crying as I tried to hold him and put the mask on,” but eventually, the flight’s crew asked all of the passengers to get off the plane. She also got off the plane and was then left behind as the other passengers got back on and departed.
Davis’ post garnered more than 180,000 likes and thousands of comments as some users on Instagram argued that the flight attendants were doing their jobs while others decried a lack of compassion for a mother traveling with a young child.
“Policies are enforced and approved face coverings are made available at key points throughout the customer journey,” American Airlines spokesperson Gianna Urgo told the newspaper. “We’ve reached out to the family to learn more about their recent travel experience and to address their concerns.”
Davis said she had been contacted by American Airlines and said she wants an apology for how she was treated, the newspaper reported.
Davis’ experience is the latest example of how airlines are struggling to coax travelers back on board while enforcing new rules designed to keep their employees and others safe.
In August, another mother of a 2-year-old and her other children were kicked off a flight in Florida as they were returning back to New York, and earlier last week, another woman was asked to leave a flight because her 2-year-old son would not immediately put his mask on correctly, NBC-2-TV reported.