Family Denied Boarding Flight After Child with Autism Could Not Wear Mask

Family Denied Boarding Flight After Child with Autism Could Not Wear Mask


An Iowa family said Southwest Airlines denied them from boarding their connecting flight home from St. Louis, Missouri, because their five-year-old son with autism could not wear his mask.

After spending a vacation in Florida, Cody and Paige Petek, along with their two children, were scheduled to fly back to Iowa on Sunday.

On their layover in St. Louis, their son with autism, who is also nonverbal and has a sensory processing disorder, had difficulty wearing his mask, KETV reported.

Despite the five-year-old’s disability, the airline crew refused to let the Petek family board their connecting flight in St. Louis back to Iowa.

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Dr. Vince Hassel, who was also on the flight to Des Moines, said passengers began lobbying to get the boy to board after the crew refused.

“They weren’t going to let the kid on the plane if he didn’t put this mask on. He kind

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