Disabled Calif. Boy Not Allowed to Board Airplane
PORTERVILLE, Calif. (AP) – A California family who was not allowed to board their cross-country flight said they were discriminated against because their son has Down syndrome.
Robert Vanderhorst said that he was flying on American Airlines from Newark to Los Angeles on Sunday with his wife Joan and 16-year-old son Bede, who is disabled, when the boy was singled out by the pilot.
The Porterville, Calif., family, who held first class tickets, was not allowed to board and was rebooked on another flight in coach.
American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said the boy “was not ready to fly”, because he was agitated and running around the gate area prior to boarding.
But Vanderhorst said his son did not run at any time, did not make any loud noises and didn’t display any other offensive behaviors.