American Airlines stopped a family from boarding a flight after they said their daughter had special needs




American Airlines planes.Robert Alexander/Getty Images
American Airlines planes.Robert Alexander/Getty Images  
  • A family was not allowed to board an American flight after saying their daughter had special needs.

  • They were not seated together on a new connecting flight after they missed one due to a delay.

  • They told staff they had to be next to their 13-year-old daughter because she could suffer seizures.

A family was not allowed to board an American Airlines flight after telling staff their daughter had special needs.

Insider verified flight tickets as well as email exchanges with the airline. The father did not want his name to be used due to privacy concerns but Insider has verified his identity.

The family were flying from Orlando, Florida to Richmond, Virginia via Charlotte on June 6 when they missed their connection due to a two-hour delay on their first leg.

After being allocated new seats that were not grouped together, they told staff they needed to be next to their 13-year-old daughter because she had special needs and could suffer a seizure.

The family also explained they did not want to be seated at the rear of the aircraft, which they said was louder and bumpier and could trigger a seizure in their daughter. They had paid for seats towards the front of the plane.

A gate agent then spoke with the captain and told the family they would not be allowed to board.

Following a heated exchange with staff, the father said he had shouted at a manager who "kept talking over everybody" and the family were then asked to leave the airport.

"They treated us like we were terrorists and did not believe that my daughter has special needs," he told Insider.

The father said that his daughter had suffered two skull fractures, two brain injuries, broken ribs and burns before he and his wife had adopted her. "My daughter has had her last rights read to her on several occasions as her seizures can be fatal," he said.

The family was forced to spend about $1,000 in additional costs to get to Richmond including new flights on Delta, Uber rides and a hotel room. They have not been compensated or reimbursed by American.

Insider contacted American Airlines for comment.

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