prosa
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AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:04 pm

The 16-year-old was scheduled to travel in first class with his parents from EWR to LAX, but an airline representative claimed that the boy was a "flight risk" and refused to allow the family to board. Some of the exchange was caught on video:
http://laist.com/2012/09/04/airline_refuses_to_board_teen_with.php

The boy and his parents later flew on UA, with no incidents.

[Edited 2012-09-04 16:06:11]
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HNLPointShoot
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:12 pm

Quote:
They believe American Airlines did not want their son to fly in first class because of his disability, and say the airline not only violated their son's civil rights, but also the Americans With Disabilities Act.

I think they mean the Air Carrier Access Act, not ADA. Still, based on my limited understanding of the law, I find it hard to believe AA was justified in denying the child boarding since he had his parents with him (i.e., attendants able to assist him in case of emergency.)
 
AirframeAS
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:23 pm

Quoting PROSA (Thread starter):
an airline representative claimed that the boy was a "flight risk"

Can anyone shed some light on how this boy was really a "flight risk"?? The kid isn't a criminal evading law. LOL.

Quoting HNLPointShoot (Reply 1):
I find it hard to believe AA was justified in denying the child boarding since he had his parents with him (i.e., attendants able to assist him in case of emergency.)

Agreed.

After seeing the video, it is quite astonishing how the CSR Supervisor treated the family, he ought to be ashamed of himself. But on the other hand, I can see why they were denied boarding. It is not about the safety of the young man, but it had very well to do with the comfort of the other first class passengers. If the family was still seated in economy, this probably wouldn't have been an issue and the family would be on the aircraft. The key here is where the family would have been seated with a disabled individual. AA probably saw that the first class upgrade for the family was inappropriate.

Now, was this a paid upgrade or just a simple FF upgrade?
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flyingsux
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:06 am

Quoting HNLPointShoot (Reply 1):
I think they mean the Air Carrier Access Act, not ADA

No, they meant ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) - more specifically, Part 382, which prohibits discrimination based on disability in air travel. And I would say this does look like a blatant violation. Based on what I see on the video, he's bahaving better than some adults I've seen in the boarding area.
 
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Tugger
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:14 am

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 2):
But on the other hand, I can see why they were denied boarding. It is not about the safety of the young man, but it had very well to do with the comfort of the other first class passengers. If the family was still seated in economy, this probably wouldn't have been an issue and the family would be on the aircraft. The key here is where the family would have been seated with a disabled individual. AA probably saw that the first class upgrade for the family was inappropriate.

Now, was this a paid upgrade or just a simple FF upgrade?

Don't take this the wrong way, but I find that sentiment as disturbing and wrong as the denial itself. If you have the points, bought/got the upgrade, there is no reason to cruelly discriminate against someone (and their family) for something that is not a flight-risk nor something that truly adversely affects anyone around them.

And why would they have been "OK" if they were in economy?

AA is going to eat some serious bad PR crow on this one if it is what it appears to be.

Quoting flyingsux (Reply 3):
Quoting HNLPointShoot (Reply 1):
I think they mean the Air Carrier Access Act, not ADA

No, they meant ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) - more specifically, Part 382, which prohibits discrimination based on disability in air travel.

FYI (emphasis mine):

Quote:
the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was expanded to include airline regulations in 2009.
http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/tee...-risk-parents-fight-195700056.html

/Tugg
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longhauler
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:23 am

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 2):
Now, was this a paid upgrade or just a simple FF upgrade?

Does it really make a difference?

Whether paid in cash at booking, or paid an upgrade at boarding or flew an airline 100000 miles ... they all "paid" to sit in a premium cabin.
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contrails
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:24 am

This is just what AA needs - a big embarrassing lawsuit. They'd better apologize profusely and give the family some serious travel vouchers - and soon.
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AirframeAS
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:30 am

Quoting tugger (Reply 4):
If you have the points, bought/got the upgrade, there is no reason to cruelly discriminate against someone (and their family) for something that is not a flight-risk nor something that truly adversely affects anyone around them.

And just to clarify, I do agree with you. I was only playing the devils advocate as to why AA decided to go the route they chose to go with.

Quoting tugger (Reply 4):
And why would they have been "OK" if they were in economy?

Well, as some people would agree with is the fact that First Class is exactly that: First Class. People in that section are big wigs or those who travel for work who want to have a peaceful setting after a long day. There are other people, who upgrade, just for the hell of it because they want to experience what FC is like. With the disability of this young man, AA probably thought that he might cause some uneasy feelings with the other pax seated in FC and may cause a disturbance. That is my only argument. Again, First Class is First Class for a reason.

But then again, most people with Downs Syndrome at age 16 are pretty well behaved. I think this is actually a knee jerk reaction on the CSR's part, and the lack of ADA/ACA training obtained for the CSR and the Supervisor. After thinking about it, I'm 50/50 on the situation....

Quoting tugger (Reply 4):
AA is going to eat some serious bad PR crow on this one if it is what it appears to be.

   I think the family may have some legal recourse after all.

Quoting tugger (Reply 4):
he Americans with Disabilities Act, which was expanded to include airline regulations in 2009.

Geez, I had no idea! Seriously. My recent Air Carrier Access Act and ADA training did not add this. WTH?!

Quoting flyingsux (Reply 3):
Based on what I see on the video, he's bahaving better than some adults I've seen in the boarding area.

Saw the same video, I agree. AA should have left this alone. I am not buying the argument that AA claims that the pilot came to talk to the 16 year old. Sorry, but I am not buying it.
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gigneil
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:37 am

Lets not skip this part, for interest of fairness:

Quote:

"A spokesman for American Airlines disputes the family's claim, saying the child was excitable and running around," reports UPI, adding: The airline said the pilot unsuccessfully tried to calm the boy down before telling the family he presented a risk to passenger safety."

I clearly have no way to identify whether that is the truth or not.

Now don't you get me wrong, I am sure actual running around children are let on board the aircraft every day.

NS
 
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:45 am

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 2):

After seeing the video, it is quite astonishing how the CSR Supervisor treated the family, he ought to be ashamed of himself. But on the other hand, I can see why they were denied boarding. It is not about the safety of the young man, but it had very well to do with the comfort of the other first class passengers. If the family was still seated in economy, this probably wouldn't have been an issue and the family would be on the aircraft. The key here is where the family would have been seated with a disabled individual. AA probably saw that the first class upgrade for the family was inappropriate.

WHAT?

The fact that somebody can somehow manage to justify this event is more disturbing than the actual event in my opinion.

This family did not break any of AA's stated policies. The child wasn't disruptive, aggressive, drunk, dressed inappropriately, etc.

This is a textbook violation of ADA, and whether AA considers the upgrade "appropriate" or not is irrelevant. Regardless, AA was who sold the upgrade in the first place...
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flyingsux
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:48 am

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 7):
Well, as some people would agree with is the fact that First Class is exactly that: First Class. People in that section are big wigs or those who travel for work who want to have a peaceful setting after a long day. There are other people, who upgrade, just for the hell of it because they want to experience what FC is like. With the disability of this young man, AA probably thought that he might cause some uneasy feelings with the other pax seated in FC and may cause a disturbance.

None of that matters - IT IS AGAINST THE LAW to discriminate based on a disability. Period. So if sombody feels uncomfortable they are the ones who can request to be rebooked on another flight. It's not any different than a blind person traveling with a service animal and someone onboard had an alergy. The blind person wouldn't be denied boarding.
 
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Tugger
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:50 am

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 7):
Well, as some people would agree with is the fact that First Class is exactly that: First Class. People in that section are big wigs or those who travel for work who want to have a peaceful setting after a long day. There are other people, who upgrade, just for the hell of it because they want to experience what FC is like. With the disability of this young man, AA probably thought that he might cause some uneasy feelings with the other pax seated in FC and may cause a disturbance. That is my only argument. Again, First Class is First Class for a reason.

You'll probably get pilloried for that!   
(And I see I was right  Wink )
I think I understand what you are trying to say and with that realize you do not necessarily agree with AA's choice (well the CSA's choice), you are just making an argument. However with that said, it is an indefensible position (as you indicate when you noted the family probably has recourse here).

The price is what it is and AA sets it and the family paid that price, whether with miles or cash. And I will say that I have sat in F with some very bad passengers, from drunks to overbearing a$$hole$, to over entitled jerks (though of course most have been fine and courteous people). The airline takes the money and takes it's chances (mostly), it doesn't mean everyone is the good and perfect passenger.

Tugg

[Edited 2012-09-04 17:51:50]
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flymia
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:51 am

Interesting case. This isn't exactly a civil rights issue being it was AA who denied boarding but it can certainly be an ADA issue especially if the captain never issued the order and it was a service rep. I am not sure how much discretion the law gives to the PIC.

Playing the other side: if the child was running around like a 4-5 year old and he is disabled maybe the AA employees thought that him being active like this plus being disabled may pose a problem in flight. Not saying it would, I honestly don't think it would as it says he has flown before. But that is the only semi rational reason. They will go ahead and sue and settle and it will be the end of it. I'm not sure how much they can really get. Probably not much.
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flyingsux
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:00 am

Quoting flymia (Reply 12):
I am not sure how much discretion the law gives to the PIC.

None - The law is not tolorant of any violation regardless of who makes the decision. Unless the airport has video of the kid acting any differently than what was in the video, there is nothing to back up this kid being a "security" risk and not allowed to board the a/c.
 
AirframeAS
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:00 am

Quoting longhauler (Reply 5):
Does it really make a difference?

I was just wondering. Am I allowed to ask?? Is it a crime that I asked?

Quoting aeroblogger (Reply 9):

See reply 7.

Quoting flyingsux (Reply 10):
None of that matters - IT IS AGAINST THE LAW to discriminate based on a disability.

Woah! Calm the hell down! I know the law, I am deaf myself. Calm the hell down.

Quoting flyingsux (Reply 10):
So if sombody feels uncomfortable they are the ones who can request to be rebooked on another flight.

I was playing the devils advocate, man. Relax.

Quoting tugger (Reply 11):
I think I understand what you are trying to say and with that realize you do not necessarily agree with AA's choice (well the CSA's choice), you are just making an argument. However with that said, it is an indefensible position (as you indicate when you noted the family probably has recourse here).

Thank you.
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flyingsux
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:09 am

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 14):
Woah! Calm the hell down! I know the law, I am deaf myself. Calm the hell down.

I don't think I need to calm down, It's hard for me understand that sombody can even try to justify anything like this. If you know the law you wouldn't make such a comment - It's especially mind boggling to me since you have claim to have a disability.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 14):
I was playing the devils advocate, man. Relax.

See above
 
milesrich
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:17 am

This should end up costing American more than the total revenue of the flight. It would have been cheaper for them to pay a crew and burn the fuel and fly the family on a separate airplane. Someone said, give them a few travel vouchers. LOL! I don't chase ambulances, and don't care for attorneys who do, but I sure hope this family gets a very competent attorney, and that they collect enough money so they never have to worry about carrying for their downs child again. This is revolting.
 
aeroblogger
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:22 am

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 14):
See reply 7.

I have read it. It is ridiculous.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 7):
Well, as some people would agree with is the fact that First Class is exactly that: First Class. People in that section are big wigs or those who travel for work who want to have a peaceful setting after a long day. There are other people, who upgrade, just for the hell of it because they want to experience what FC is like. With the disability of this young man, AA probably thought that he might cause some uneasy feelings with the other pax seated in FC and may cause a disturbance. That is my only argument. Again, First Class is First Class for a reason.

These passengers paid whatever AA charged to fly First Class. There is no evidence that this kid was making a disturbance (video evidence to the contrary), and he was not breaking any other stated rule either.

A cannot arbitrarily decide that upgrades they issued are "innappropriate" or move somebody out of FC because they have Down Syndrome with the logic of "he might disturb other passengers"

It is an incredibly insensitive decision at best.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 7):
After thinking about it, I'm 50/50 on the situation....

I cannot envision any reason why somebody should not be 0/100 on the situation, assuming the kid was not creating a disturbance. And since there is no evidence that he was creating a disturbance, the logical conclusion is that he was discriminated against because of his illness. And discrimination is not something that should be conveniently ignored so that "big wigs" can have feel at peace.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 14):
I was playing the devils advocate, man. Relax.

There are times when playing "devils advocate" is a reasonable idea. This is not one of those times - this act was indefensible any way you slice it.
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flymia
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:22 am

Quoting flyingsux (Reply 13):
None - The law is not tolorant of any violation regardless of who makes the decision.


I am not saying if the captain violated the law it would not matter. I am saying if the law applies exactly the same to the captain to the gate agent. I imagine the captain had to be involved in this somehow. We all know the captain has final authority about who can board and who can't. Maybe the captain was misinformed, maybe he was not involved. Maybe he saw the kid for 1 minute acting too active etc.. Many things we don't know.
With the facts we have it does not look good for AA. But those are the facts we have, which is not all the facts.

Quoting flyingsux (Reply 15):
I don't think I need to calm down, It's hard for me understand that sombody can even try to justify anything like this. If you know the law you wouldn't make such a comment - It's especially mind boggling to me since you have claim to have a disability.


Every story has an other side. It is always good to discuss the other side no matter the issue. It is helpful to say what the other side will say. That is how the best answers and solutions come.

Quoting milesrich (Reply 16):
This should end up costing American more than the total revenue of the flight.


$1 might be enough then.     

Quoting milesrich (Reply 16):
but I sure hope this family gets a very competent attorney, and that they collect enough money so they never have to worry about carrying for their downs child again. This is revolting.


How much are you talking here? 100K 1million? Given what happened, I would think and hope $25-50k and some great travel benefits would be enough. But at the same time they most certainly can go ahead and try for more. But at what point does it become more about money than what actually happened.

[Edited 2012-09-04 18:31:26]
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hiflyeras
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:27 am

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 2):
I can see why they were denied boarding. It is not about the safety of the young man, but it had very well to do with the comfort of the other first class passengers. If the family was still seated in economy, this probably wouldn't have been an issue and the family would be on the aircraft. The key here is where the family would have been seated with a disabled individual. AA probably saw that the first class upgrade for the family was inappropriate.

I'm appalled by this comment AND by your lame attempts to walk it back by now saying you were 'playing devil's advocate'. Just apologize...no lame "I'm sorry you were offended" B.S. either. Your remark was calloused, insensitive and inppropriate. AA should never had denied that family the FC seats that they'd purchased upon check-in at the kiosk. What will be next? Kicking out families with small children? With an infant? Someone with a loud or annoying voice?
 
aeroblogger
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:33 am

Quoting flyingsux (Reply 10):
It's not any different than a blind person traveling with a service animal and someone onboard had an alergy. The blind person wouldn't be denied boarding.

Actually, I'm curious about this. Shouldn't a serious allergy to dogs also be considered a disability?
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Cubsrule
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:35 am

Quoting aeroblogger (Reply 17):
And since there is no evidence that he was creating a disturbance, the logical conclusion is that he was discriminated against because of his illness.

Perhaps there is evidence that he was creating a disturbance - AA seems to think so. Like Gigneil, I have no idea if that is true or not. But if the disturbance is such that a non-disabled person doing the same thing would have been removed, there's no discrimination.
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aeroblogger
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:48 am

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 21):
Perhaps there is evidence that he was creating a disturbance - AA seems to think so. Like Gigneil, I have no idea if that is true or not. But if the disturbance is such that a non-disabled person doing the same thing would have been removed, there's no discrimination.

I agree. I find it hard to believe that the kid (who is so well behaved in the video) would be creating a major disturbance mere minutes earlier, to the point where any passenger would be kicked off.
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Cubsrule
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:01 am

Quoting aeroblogger (Reply 22):
I find it hard to believe that the kid (who is so well behaved in the video) would be creating a major disturbance mere minutes earlier, to the point where any passenger would be kicked off.

I don't know. I've worked with folks with Down Syndrome. One of the funny things about it is that it can manifest very differently in different people, so it's hard to generalize about its "symptoms." I have known several folks with Down Syndrome, though, with pretty significant impulse control problems.
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flyingsux
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:10 am

Quoting aeroblogger (Reply 20):
Actually, I'm curious about this. Shouldn't a serious allergy to dogs also be considered a disability?

The person with the allergy might think so, but no, a disability is defined as a physical or mental handicap, being alergic to dogs is just an allergy - take Claritin.

[Edited 2012-09-04 19:16:48]
 
AirframeAS
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:20 am

Quoting flyingsux (Reply 15):
I don't think I need to calm down, It's hard for me understand that sombody can even try to justify anything like this. If you know the law you wouldn't make such a comment - It's especially mind boggling to me since you have claim to have a disability.

Obviously, you don't like the devils advocate I gave. I never said that what AA did was right, genius.

Quoting aeroblogger (Reply 17):
There is no evidence that this kid was making a disturbance (video evidence to the contrary), and he was not breaking any other stated rule either.

I never said that he made any disturbances.   

Quoting aeroblogger (Reply 17):
this act was indefensible any way you slice it.

Yes, it was. But at the same time the CSR felt that the 16 year old would inconvenience other pax. This is how we got here. And the supervisor backed that CSR up. And as I have said before:

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 7):
I think this is actually a knee jerk reaction on the CSR's part, and the lack of ADA/ACA training obtained for the CSR and the Supervisor.

We don't know the whole story on what really happened here. What was his behavior like before this situation took place? How did the CSR come to this conclusion that the family was not fit to fly?

Quoting flymia (Reply 18):
Every story has an other side. It is always good to discuss the other side no matter the issue. It is helpful to say what the other side will say. That is how the best answers and solutions come.

  

Quoting hiflyeras (Reply 19):
I'm appalled by this comment AND by your lame attempts to walk it back by now saying you were 'playing devil's advocate'.

Then be appalled. That's your right. Look at it another way, put yourself in the CSR's shoes as well as the Supervisor.

Quoting hiflyeras (Reply 19):
AA should never had denied that family the FC seats that they'd purchased upon check-in at the kiosk.

I agree. The fact remains they did not fly on AA. They flew on UA. We can only go by what is in front of us at the moment. What the CSR saw is unknown, we were not there. So we do not have all the facts.

Quoting hiflyeras (Reply 19):
What will be next? Kicking out families with small children? With an infant? Someone with a loud or annoying voice?

Seriously?!

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 21):
Perhaps there is evidence that he was creating a disturbance - AA seems to think so. Like Gigneil, I have no idea if that is true or not. But if the disturbance is such that a non-disabled person doing the same thing would have been removed, there's no discrimination.

   Exactly. We do not know what the CSR really saw. But I think we all can agree here that this was not handled correctly. There is a lot of he said/she said going on here.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 23):
One of the funny things about it is that it can manifest very differently in different people, so it's hard to generalize about its "symptoms." I have known several folks with Down Syndrome, though, with pretty significant impulse control problems.

And..... here is your "what if's" scenario. This is PROBABLY what the CSR was thinking. Who knows.

People, people, people.... Lets take a step back a minute here and THINK. Put yourself in the CSR's shoes. What do you think he/she saw? How do you think he/she felt at the time? Was the CSR not trained properly in the Air Carrier Access Act and ADA Laws? Maybe, but then again maybe not. At the same time, there are people flying in First Class who are actually traveling on business and the CSR felt that was not a good environment for anyone involved. That is probably the mindset at the moment. He/she was more than likely trying to keep a bad situation from happening.

Look at it from the CSR's perspective. We don't know what really happened PRIOR to the situation escalating.... and we were not there.

And keep in mind here: Safety is the #1 priority here.

[Edited 2012-09-04 19:46:23]
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OB1504
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:33 am

Quoting PROSA (Thread starter):
The boy and his parents later flew on UA, with no incidents.

Actually, they complained about UA, too, saying that they placed them in the last row, which of course was clearly because of the child's disability and not because they purchased a ticket at the last minute when no other seats together were likely available.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 7):
I think this is actually a knee jerk reaction on the CSR's part, and the lack of ADA/ACA training obtained for the CSR and the Supervisor.

   Also, I don't believe there's any restriction on filming in the part of the terminal they were in, but AA may have a policy that prohibits passengers from videotaping employees on duty.

Quoting flyingsux (Reply 24):
The person with the allergy might think so, but no, a disability is defined as a physical or mental handicap, being alergic to dogs is just an allergy - take Claritin.

Considering that some allergies can cause death, I would qualify them as a physical handicap.
 
Longhornmaniac
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:34 am

Quoting flyingsux (Reply 24):

While I get your point, Claritin won't do someone with a deadly food allergy much good...

If we've been told the whole story, this entirely saga is unconscionable, and the FA and whomever else was involved needs to be immediately reprimanded. Not only is this in clear violation of the law, but violates any reasonable moral/ethical code of conduct.

Because of that, I can't help but feel like there's more to the story. Clearly, AA doesn't see it as quite so cut and dry, and as with most things, there are two sides to every story. I really struggle with the notion that someone would be so overtly cruel.

I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that the kid was being rambunctious, and perhaps the FA didn't entirely understand his disability. Being told is one thing, understanding and being able to adapt to an unusual situation is entirely different. I think this is where the breakdown happened.

Either way, lots of bad press coming AA's way, at a time when they'd really like to avoid it.

Cheers,
Cameron
Cheers,
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sldispatcher
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:59 am

Personally, I think the ADA gets abused in both directions.

Something tells me that we are not seeing the whole story. It is very hard to imagine that a Down's Syndrome individual is not seen on a semi-regular basis by all airline gate employees. Someone is not telling the whole truth here or simply seeing it from two different angles. Always two sides to every story.

Of course, the last two paragraphs are the real jist of the article. Sue, sue, sue. That always makes everything better. Making a public spectacle against "the big bad corporation" helps one's case.

If the family is stating that he acts like a typical 4 or 5 year old at age 16, he is not what I would consider a "high functioning" Down's Syndrome patient.

I'm not an AA employee and fly United regularly. I am not in the legal profession but am in the medical profession and take care of a variety of disabled folks.

Here is my real skinny. Is it possible that the AA agent just might have been making a judgment call for the "rights" of the rest of the persons onboard the flight? I'd like to give just a little benefit of the doubt to the agent. Could have been handled differently? Possible. Offer to book on another flight? Makes me suspicious that something was going on before the camera was conveniently turned on.
 
SonomaFlyer
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:02 am

That footage doesn't come close to justify any action by AA. I'd love to hear specifics of what the pilot supposedly did in his/her intervention and what the kid was specifically doing to justify such a step.

In the end, all of us (in this industry and others) seem to be losing the ability to communicate, use some common sense and employ a bit of empathy in situations. It takes very little time and could diffuse many situations if there was a question asked by the CSR and/or a request by the CSR to get the kid under control if in fact he was out of control.

Chewing on a hat is not grounds to deny someone boarding. IF that were the standard, most kids under age six or so would never fly.
 
FATFlyer
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:39 am

So far this is both sides spinning their version. It will be helpful if other passengers step forward or if there is airport security video.

According to additional press reports, AA "said it did not have any complaints from other passengers observing Bede's alleged "agitation."" So this was employee concern not concerns from other passengers.
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nati...-syndrome-family-article-1.1151439

Quoting milesrich (Reply 16):
but I sure hope this family gets a very competent attorney

Apparently the boy's father is a practicing attorney (passed the California Bar in 1984). He probably knows a few other attorneys who are well versed in disability rights cases.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
BMI727
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:43 am

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 30):
So far this is both sides spinning their version.

Yeah, I don't really believe any of what either side is saying. That newscast was like an 8 on the Nancy Grace scale.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
AirframeAS
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:58 am

Quoting sldispatcher (Reply 28):
Is it possible that the AA agent just might have been making a judgment call for the "rights" of the rest of the persons onboard the flight?

That was the point I was trying to make about what First Class was really for and maybe why the CSR thought the way he/she did to ensure that the rest of the FC pax was not inconvenienced by the family as I tried to explain in reply 2. But I got flamed for it, unfortunately. However, at the end of the day, safety is #1 no matter what.

Quoting sonomaflyer (Reply 29):
I'd love to hear specifics of what the pilot supposedly did in his/her intervention and what the kid was specifically doing to justify such a step.

Actually, you know what? I would like to know of the pilots really did speak to the family and the 16 year old as well. I'm guessing that he/she probably really didn't.

Quoting sonomaflyer (Reply 29):
In the end, all of us (in this industry and others) seem to be losing the ability to communicate, use some common sense and employ a bit of empathy in situations.

   Add to the fact that this may be a training issue as well.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 31):
Yeah, I don't really believe any of what either side is saying.

If this does actually sees the light of day in a court room, then we will see what really happened. My guess is that nobody is going to win this one at all except the attorneys.
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
 
silentbob
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:08 am

Quoting sldispatcher (Reply 28):
Something tells me that we are not seeing the whole story.

I think that's painfully obvious to anyone with a pulse.

Quoting sonomaflyer (Reply 29):
That footage doesn't come close to justify any action by AA.

Wait, so the parents chose to share video that showed their son in the best possible light? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 30):
Apparently the boy's father is a practicing attorney (passed the California Bar in 1984). He probably knows a few other attorneys who are well versed in disability rights cases.

That's incredibly convenient.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 31):
Yeah, I don't really believe any of what either side is saying. That newscast was like an 8 on the Nancy Grace scale.

Is that the head spinning or pea soup spitting level? I try to avoid watching that miserable wretch of a woman.


The kid was obviously doing something that made the agent uncomfortable, let's get some airport security video footage and see what was going on. Then we can have the internet flame war over it being appropriate or not. Whatever happened to reasoned debate?
 
chrisair
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:15 am

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 2):
It is not about the safety of the young man, but it had very well to do with the comfort of the other first class passengers. If the family was still seated in economy, this probably wouldn't have been an issue and the family would be on the aircraft.
Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 32):
That was the point I was trying to make about what First Class was really for and maybe why the CSR thought the way he/she did to ensure that the rest of the FC pax was not inconvenienced by the family as I tried to explain in reply 2.

I wish airlines would think of MY comfort next time they sit a mother and her screaming baby next to me in F.
 
B777ER
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:28 am

No worries, after the bk judge rulling yesterday AA may not have many pilots left to fly anyone anywhere.
 
koruman
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:41 am

As someone whose elite status is with Air New Zealand and Qantas, I'm not entitled to upgrades in the USA, and on each of the 12-16 First Class sectors I buy and pay for in the USA each year I have to be seated in the same cabin as a bunch of elite status freeloaders who haven't bought their tickets, and who often get the choice of meal which I wanted and paid for and they didn't.

Frankly, I'd be waaaaay less upset having a respectable family with a handicapped child in the cabin than I am having able-bodied and entitled frequent flyers swanning around the cabin like they belong there!
 
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Tugger
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:33 am

Quoting koruman (Reply 36):
able-bodied and entitled frequent flyers swanning around the cabin like they belong there!

I hate to tell you, but they do belong there. Every bit as much as you do. Every airline sets a price for F, whether it be cash or points or miles status, there is a price to be there and most everyone has paid it. Heck you may have grossly underpaid simply because you booked at an expedient time.

Quoting koruman (Reply 36):
As someone whose elite status is with Air New Zealand and Qantas, I'm not entitled to upgrades in the USA

I am hearing a wee bit of envy that you aren't able to use you hard earned miles to just upgrade like all those other freeloaders. Tell me, are you an:

Quoting koruman (Reply 36):
entitled frequent flyers swanning around the cabin

on Qantas and Air New Zealand when you can? Do you feel you earned it?

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
 
koruman
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:51 am

Tugger, I have to admit that there was a little bit of baiting going on in my post.

But to be honest, in my part of the world there aren't complimentary upgrades for frequent flyers: if you want a seat at the front you either buy it or pay a large number of miles for the chance to snag an unsold seat at the last minute.

And I must say that I prefer it that way. Airlines invest heavily in state-of-the-art seats, catering and entertainment because they can command a 300% fare premium for it, and the premium cabins tend to generate at least as much profit as the much larger economy cabin.

In contrast in First Class in the USA I get a big but antique seat with no IFE and catering which would have been on offer in Coach 15 years ago, and which is inferior to Economy class catering on many foreign airlines flying similar sector lengths. And that product is sub-standard because the airline is comping it to elites and has no financial incentive to provide a higher-quality offering.

When I travel in the USA I find that only Hawaiian and Virgin America have the sort of sustainable model used overseas, and that the other airlines have to gift the seats which should be their most profitable to their elites because if they don't do it, they will defect to another carrier. And I think that is why almost every US airline encounters regular bankruptcy.

But there was also a serious point in my post. If a handicapped person - or a child - has had a ticket bought for them, and has not been disruptive, then it is an outrage that someone can offload them.

I repeat, I'm one of the few who pays for my seat in the First Class cabin. And I do not in any way do so to purchase a haven free of children or handicapped people: I do so because there is a better seat and better catering. No-one has ever tried to sell me a seat in a kid-free or handicapped-free or ethnic-minority free or LGBT-free cabin, and if they tried to I would be appalled.
 
fn1001
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:54 am

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 2):
The key here is where the family would have been seated with a disabled individual. AA probably saw that the first class upgrade for the family was inappropriate.
Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 7):
Well, as some people would agree with is the fact that First Class is exactly that: First Class. People in that section are big wigs or those who travel for work who want to have a peaceful setting after a long day. There are other people, who upgrade, just for the hell of it because they want to experience what FC is like. With the disability of this young man, AA probably thought that he might cause some uneasy feelings with the other pax seated in FC and may cause a disturbance. That is my only argument. Again, First Class is First Class for a reason.

*YES!

And disabled persons, children, snorers, should be locked up in the cargo hold!

It is sad that nearly 60 years after the world got rid of the german nazis, there are still existing ideas like these.
Mai bine să-ţi fie rău decît să-ţi pară rău.
 
sweair
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:05 am

The underlying thinking is still a bit upsetting, if you travel first class, you really should not have to put up with different people. Its a clear sign that many that belong in first class have no class.
 
flyingsux
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:00 am

Quoting OB1504 (Reply 26):
Considering that some allergies can cause death, I would qualify them as a physical handicap

That's why I said the person with the allergy may think so, but it's still an allergy not a disability, therefore, not covered in the ADA - you could offer to rebook the passenger with the allergy on another flight - see below regarding peanuts

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 27):
While I get your point, Claritin won't do someone with a deadly food allergy much good...

Even though we weren't talking about food allergies, here's a perfect example of that - A few years ago when CO made it clear that they wouldn't stop serving nuts onboard, even with all the complaints from people who were allergic to nuts - and they got tons. Of course this isn't an issue anymore but at the time it was, and CO would not have taken this stand if it was in violation of any law.

Quoting sldispatcher (Reply 28):
Here is my real skinny. Is it possible that the AA agent just might have been making a judgment call for the "rights" of the rest of the persons onboard the flight?

Unfortunately, the other passengers don't have rights - other than to take their seat, or take another flight.. This sounds like the Alabama mentality in the 1950's...   

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 32):
Actually, you know what? I would like to know of the pilots really did speak to the family and the 16 year old as well. I'm guessing that he/she probably really didn't.

         I was thinking the same thing.
 
Ruscoe
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:10 am

I have a 20yo daughter with Down Syndrome, and like someone said, they have the full range of behaviours as anyone else.
However as a rule they are very passive, well behaved, and gentle people. Parents usually know their idiosyncrisies and can handle them.

I have been on the Down Syndrome Association committee in Queensland so I have some idea what goes on, and can tell you there are some active associations in the USA, whom I expect will not let this alone until some type of satisfactory resolution is put in place. (Not a money solution, an undertaking to provide appropriate training I would expect)

We normally travel Qantas with our daughter, and cannot speak highly enough of her treatment by the FA's.

Ruscoe
 
keegd76
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:23 am

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 25):
He/she was more than likely trying to keep a bad situation from happening.

And yet in doing so he/she actually ended up creating the bad situation.

Quoting silentbob (Reply 33):
The kid was obviously doing something that made the agent uncomfortable, let's get some airport security video footage and see what was going on. Then we can have the internet flame war over it being appropriate or not. Whatever happened to reasoned debate?

Again there is no evidence (as yet) of that. For all we know the gate agent simply heard the words 'Down Syndrome' or worse 'Disability' and immediately jumped to 'Flight Risk'   

Would be interested in what the security video shows, but without sound (I assume) all that it would confirm is:
a) was the child acting out;
b) did the pilot speak to the family as the AA spokesman has claimed;

Having said that if the family were travelling in coach would we be having this debate/argument/flame war?

Quoting sweair (Reply 40):
The underlying thinking is still a bit upsetting, if you travel first class, you really should not have to put up with different people. Its a clear sign that many that belong in first class have no class.

  
Nothing comes down faster than a VTOL aircraft upside down.
 
eastalt
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:24 am

As a gate agent, I do believe the Captain was involved in this decision. Many Captains I work with will monitor the boarding area for potential problems and alert the gate agent to deny boarding.

I don't know of any Customer Service Agent that will deny boarding to anyone based on their disability. If there is a dispute about someone you must call your CRO to settle the dispute. However, the Captain has the final say as to who boards the plane.

I'm sure AA covered themselves on this one. In this situation who gets the blame, the gate agent. Further, I have a feeling they are not telling the full story. Even after they were allowed to fly, UA restricted them to the last row of the aircraft and would not allow any passengers to sit near them. This would indicate there was some concern for passenger safety and he might have been easily excited by sudden conditions. Hmmm, can someone please explain this situation, and why are they complaining about UA.

As a person, who has traveled with someone with down syndrome, I can honestly say I have had to accept the reality of what can happen to them while on a flight. They might seem OK until the plane hits turbulence and that when you have a problem and the other passengers will not understand. I learned a valuable lesson, I have to make sure I don't violate the rights of others especially on a plane.
 
B777ER
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:34 am

Quoting sweair (Reply 40):
many that belong in first class

Thats the problem, the elitist attitude many who think they "belong" in first class have. You should see the FlyerTalk forums where are the members of the airline's frequent flyer miles programs post. Some of the people in their act like it's the end of the world if they get denied an upgrade. Biggest bunch of cry babies ever are the elite status frequent flyer members.
 
usair330
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:36 am

Quoting flyingsux (Reply 24):
The person with the allergy might think so, but no, a disability is defined as a physical or mental handicap, being alergic to dogs is just an allergy - take Claritin.

LMAO         
 
dgthomson
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:28 am

Please forgive me, I've only just seen the topic.

Going with the 'he/she would be a disruption to other passengers' scenario, what would that mean for someone who pays for first class and travelling with a baby/infant. Would they then be told they can't fly also? If the FA felt that the baby would disrupt the other passengers.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:31 am

Quoting tugger (Reply 4):
AA is going to eat some serious bad PR crow on this one if it is what it appears to be.

That's not the half of it. AA is going to shell out some serious money to this family if this is what it appears to be.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
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skymiler
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RE: AA Denies Boarding To Teen With Down Syndrome

Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:48 am

My sister has Down's syndome and has travelled (always accompanied) for over 50 years, in both coach and premium classes without incident, both domestic and overseas.

Many Downs's syndrome sufferers are the most gentle, pleasant and loving people you will ever know.

AA really needs to look at the incident from several angles ...
I love to fly, and it shows!