A Iowa family was refused entry onto a Southwest Airlines flight because their autistic 5-year-old son could not wear a face mask, a report said.
Cody and Paige Petek and their two children were in St. Louis for a connecting flight home to the Des Moines International Airport on Sunday when they were turned away, KCCI reported.
Before boarding the plane, the family’s son, who is non-verbal, has autism and a sensory processing disorder, was having issues with his face mask, the family told the outlet.
Another traveler boarding the same flight who witnessed the ordeal said other passengers were encouraging the flight crew to let the boy board. But the staff refused.
“He just wasn’t having it and throwing a fit,” Dr. Vince Hassel told the news station. “Just to watch this play out was absolutely horrible.”
Southwest Airlines, in a statement to the outlet, said federal law requires passengers ages 2 and up to wear a mask