Woman ‘thrown off flight’ after autistic son refuses to wear face mask on plane

A woman who was flying home with her three-year-old son on Monday says she was thrown off the flight because he refused to wear a face mask.

Alyssa Sadler says she boarded the Southwest Airlines flight from Midland, Texas, with her one-year-old daughter and her son, who is autistic.

"It was just not a good morning," she told Fox News. The aircraft was taxiing towards the runway but the boy just couldn't keep the mask on.

"He was screaming. He was throwing a fit. He was screaming no, no, no," Alyssa said.

According to Alyssa, a member of the Southwest Airlines aircrew told her the plane would have to return to the gate when the boy wouldn’t keep the mask on.

She told reporters that her son has a sensory processing disorder and can’t bear to have his face touched.

"The mask is not going to work," she told them.

"He’s not going to wear the mask."

She added that she had been given a note from the boy’s doctor which explained his condition but Southwest Airlines staff hadn’t taken that into account.

The airline state that they had a strict rule about face coverings on their flights and all customers over age two have to cover their faces while travelling. They say that this is clearly stated during the online booking and check-in process.

A spokesperson for the airline said: "If a customer is unable to wear a face-covering for any reason, Southwest regrets that we are unable to transport the individual."

Alyssa said that while she understood the rule, she felt like the airline ought to make allowances for special cases.

"I think there needs to be something in place for children or even adults with disabilities who can’t wear a mask. They should have some kind of exemption," she said.

She added that she had arranged for a relative to drive them the eight hours from Midland to Deer Park by road.

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