COLORADO SPRINGS — A Colorado Springs family ran into trouble mid-flight while traveling on American Airlines after a recent vacation when their young son decided he had enough of travel.
It happened on Friday, September 11. Brenna Flinton flew from Orlando to Dallas with her army veteran husband and their young son, expecting from there, to complete the trip back to Colorado Springs. Their almost-two-year-old was teething and throwing tantrums – it had already been a long day, she said.
“We came home with a tired, cranky baby,” said Colorado Springs mom Brenna Flinton, “As it usually goes, we had a meltdown in the middle of the flight.”
According to Flinton, during the first leg of the trip, her husband did what he could to soothe the boy: walking him up and down the aisle, feeding him, eating with him, and talking with the boy. During that time, she said her husband pulled his mask down intermittently – sometimes, she said, their son grabbed at the face-covering.
Flinton said a flight attendant told her husband three times to keep his mask on and, each time, she said he complied, pulling his mask back into place. Near the end of the flight, Flinton said a flight attendant confirmed the family’s last name, in front of a plane full of strangers, and said she’d started a written report.
“It’s not that we are intentionally ignoring them, we are just doing the best we can, with our son,” Flinton said. “He’s like I can’t help but feel like I was being harassed because I have a disruptive child.”
FOX21 News requested that report, but was told internal documentation was not “broadly shared,” however an American Airlines spokesperson indicated the family may be able to receive a copy of the write-up.
Flinton said the family was allowed to de-board the plane in Dallas and head to the next gate, to get ready for their connecting flight, after a three-hour layover.
However, once at the gate and ready to board the plane bound for Colorado Springs, Flinton said they were told her husband’s ticket had been canceled and he’d been labeled a flight risk.
The couple said those issues were not communicated to them by American Airlines, in fact, they said, their bags had been transferred onto the upcoming flight and, they said, there was no time to adjust or buy tickets with a different airline.
“It felt very sneaky,” Flinton said. “We just felt like there wasn’t a lot of grace for us, not that we are asking for much.”
Ultimately, the couple said an American Airlines agent was able to reinstate the family’s travel plans with an agreement to comply with the company’s mask policy.
Flinton wrote about what happened to her family and shared the ordeal on Facebook over the weekend – it has been shared thousands of times.
FOX21 News reached out to American Airlines for a statement on the matter. They sent the following:
“We are looking into this and a member of our team has reached out to the family to learn more about their recent travel experience.
We are committed to protecting the safety and well-being of our customers and team members, which is why we enforce our policy for required face coverings. American, like other U.S. airlines, began requiring customers to wear a face covering while on board aircraft beginning May 11. We have since strengthened our policy to require face coverings be worn at airports and on board, and announced in June that we may deny future travel for customers who refuse to wear a face covering for the duration of this requirement.”
Because the flight attendant documented that the customer was noncompliant with the face covering requirement, the customer’s PNR [Passenger Name Record] was updated to request security confirm the customer would adhere to the face covering policy upon boarding the final leg of their trip. The family was ultimately allowed to board the aircraft after the customer committed to comply with the face covering requirement.Gianna Urgo Global Communications
Flinton, however, maintains her family did not, at any point, argue against wearing masks, and noted they traveled on the same airline, in much the same manner on their flight out to Orlando, with no issues.
Another mother, flying American out of Florida with her two-year-old documented a similar incident with the airline last week.
When asked how it may be able to prevent future issues as families prepare to travel for the holidays, many with young children, AA reiterated its stance on protecting customers and staff, noting its compliance with the CDC.
As for Flinton, she says she will not fly American in the future.
American Airlines’ mask policy can be found here.