American Airlines Kick Asthmatic Toddler Off Plane

( – As if traveling with toddlers wasn’t already challenging enough, the pandemic and mask mandates may curtail air travel for some families. One unfortunate mom recently experienced the frustration first-hand.

Amanda Pendarvis, her two-year-old son, Waylon, and her mother were on an American Airlines (AA) flight from Dallas to Colorado Springs on Monday, September 13, when Waylon experienced an asthma attack. That prompted the little boy to remove his facemask.

A flight attendant demanded the young mother replace her son’s mask. A CDC order requires airlines to make anyone, age two or older, wear a facemask while on public transportation or in a public transportation hub. While attempting to comply, Pendarvis tried to explain the asthma attack and showed the attendant a negative COVID test from the previous day. The air host responded by calling her son non-compliant. The pilot turned the plane around and kicked the family of the aircraft.

The experience raises questions about the CDC’s one-size-fits-all mask policy. American Airlines admitted the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) could grant medical exemptions, but carriers must apply for passengers in advance of travel. AA requires at least 72 hours of advance notice and documentation from a licensed healthcare professional to apply to TSA. Other carriers’ policies may vary.

Based on CDC guidance, asthma, as a sole condition, is unlikely to qualify for an exemption. Still, for anyone with conditions making the wearing of masks dangerous, the ability to apply for an exemption offers hope.

Sadly, Pendarvis’s experience, which she described as humiliating and traumatizing, is only the latest in a series of similar experiences involving small children. Consumer advocacy group Travellers Unite contends most airlines have taken the CDC regulations to the extreme, saying it’s unreasonable to expect very young children to wear masks for hours at a time.

Copyright 2021,