One mom is calling out for compassion after she and her two-year-old son were escorted off a Southwest Airlines flight on Saturday in Fort Meyers, Florida. They were taken off the plane for allegedly violating the company’s mask policy, The News-Press reports.
Jodi Degyansky, 34, said her son, Hayes, took off his mask to eat his snacks prior to take off. To her surprise, she was asked to leave the plane for her flight home from Fort Meyers to Chicago.
A flight attendant told Degyansky multiple times that Hayes needed to be masked, but she told them that he was eating. Despite Degyansky arguing with the staff that her son put his mask back on, they weren’t allowed back on the plane. According to her, a flight attendant claimed parents used snacks as an excuse to not put a mask on their young ones.
According to CDC guidelines, children two years and older should wear a mask over their nose and mouth.
The CDC also said that air travel increases one’s risk of getting COVID-19. In addition to airports bringing many in close contact with others and high-touch areas, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights.
“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, The News-Press reports. She claimed she supported mask-wearing and understood how it can stop the spread of COVID-19.
Southwest Airlines confirmed to The News-Press that they were currently investigating the incident.
Southwest Stands By Policy
While Degyansky said the airline offered to find her another flight later in the day, the only direct flight to Chicago would have been Monday. Instead, she chose to fly with American Airlines, which cost her $600.
Southwest Airlines told Degyansky she would get a refund but she hadn’t gotten one as of the following day. The company maintained its mask policy, telling The News-Press, “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.”