An Oregon mother has claimed that United Airlines kicked her family off a Portland-bound flight because the crew became unnerved by the behavior of their teenage daughter who has autism.
Donna Beegle wrote on her Facebook page that the issue started when she asked a flight attendant if she could purchase a hot meal for her 15-year-old daughter Juliette , who will not eat cold food. The attendant told her that hot food wasn't available to passengers in coach.
"The flight attendant told me that they could not serve the hot food from First Class because we were in Economy. Children on the autism spectrum sometimes are sensitive and can react badly when things don't go as expected. Juliette reportedly was crying as the result of the incident, though her family denies it was loud enough to bother other passengers. Others on the plane, however, likened the noises the teen was making to a howl," she wrote.
When the plane was diverted to Salt Lake City, the family was stunned to learn that they were being asked to leave amidst complaints that Juliette was "scratching" someone, which Donna Beegle says wasn't true.
Though they were booked on another flight, Donna Beegle says the family still feels that it's necessary to sue the airline to make sure that the crew is properly trained so that other families with children on the autism spectrum don't experience the same problem they did.