- A woman, Meaghan Hess, claims her family was mistreated after they were removed from an Alaska Airlines flight on Monday, according to NBC News.
- After Hess’ brother Patrick, who has Down syndrome, vomited “a small amount,” he and his parents were removed from the flight and rebooked on a flight for the next morning.
- The airline reportedly didn’t offer to help pay for lodging for the night and told the family that they should have been charged for their rebooked flight.
Meaghan Hess told NBC News that her parents were travelling with her teenage brother, Patrick Hess, when the incident occurred. Shortly after boarding flight 779 from St, Louis to Seattle, Patrick, who has Down syndrome, vomited “a small amount,” Hess, who was not travelling with her family at the time, said.
The family was then removed from the aircraft and booked on a flight for the next morning, but the airline reportedly failed to offer to help pay for lodging for the night, Hess claims. An airline representative reportedly later told the family that they should have been charged for the rebooked flight.
Hess told NBC that she thought the airline’s conduct amounted to “disability discrimination,” and later said on Twitter that she was more bothered by how the airline treated the family after they left their original flight than by the fact that they were removed.
“JUST TO BE CLEAR: not so much about getting kicked off the flight but the horrible treatment after the fact!!” she wrote on Friday.
Hess told NBC News that the airline left her family “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.”
After Hess reached out to Alaska Airlines via Twitter, the airline’s customer service account reportedly expressed sympathy for the family’s situation.
“I’m truly sorry for your family’s experience,” an airline representative reportedly said. “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 apologise that we cannot provide hotels in these situations.”
The airline reportedly upgraded the family to first class for their flight home.
The airline’s contract of carriage says that it has the right to refuse transport to “passengers who are incapable of completing a flight safely, without requiring extraordinary medical assistance during the flight.”
“We apologise that Patrick and his family had a difficult experience travelling with us,” an Alaska Airlines spokesperson told Business Insider. “When a guest is actively ill prior to a flight, it is safer for them to be treated on the ground than in the air, where medical assistance is limited. In this case our guest’s symptoms did not improve and we were concerned for his wellbeing. We understand that this change put the family in a difficult situation and have reached out to them.”