A young mother is speaking out to claim that she was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight with her 2 year-old son because the boy was eating snacks without a mask on.
Jodi Degyansky, 34, was flying home to Chicago with her little son Hayes after visiting family in Fort Myers, Florida when she says they were thrown off the flight, according to News-Press. Degyansky said that the plane had already left the gate and was taxiing when her son removed his mask to have a snack.
It was then that the mother alleged that flight attendants began confronting her.
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“Flight attendants kept coming over asking if we would wear it the full flight, and I said he would,” she told WBBH-TV “It definitely was a struggle but something we’re working on.”
Despite her explanation, Degyansky alleges that the plane headed back to the gate, and she was asked to leave.
“A couple minutes later, we were pulled back into the gate and I was asked to leave the plane accompanied by the manager, the supervisor, the flight attendants, and the pilot,” she recounted.
Degyansky spent about 15 minutes arguing her case, pointing out that her son had his mask back on, but she was still forced off the flight.
While CDC guidelines state that children under the age of 2 should wear masks in public due to the coronavirus pandemic, Degyansky thinks that flight attendants took this rule a little too far.
“My toddler who literally turned 2 two weeks ago … I know you have to draw the line but let’s be a little compassionate with everyone’s individual circumstances,” she said. “I’m sure other parents are going through this. I want people to either do their homework before they choose to fly or find an airline that has more leniency.”
Southwest released a statement by saying that they are looking into Degyansky’s claims. The statement added:
“If a Customer is unable to wear a face covering for any reason, Southwest regrets that we are unable to transport the individual. In those cases, we will issue a full refund and hope to welcome the Customer onboard in the future, if public health guidance regarding face coverings changes.
Caring for others with our Southwest Hearts is at the center of everything we do, which is especially important during this pandemic. We appreciate the ongoing support and spirit of cooperation among our Customers and Employees as we collectively take care of each other while striving to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Degyansky concluded by saying that she found this situation to be humiliating.
“The take away from this is empathy, sympathy what these parents are going through in this time of transition,” she lamented.