Mom kicked off flight after her 2-year-old refused to wear a face mask

Rachel Starr Davis felt traumatized after she was kicked off an American Airlines flight because of her 2-year-old son.

  • The mother explains that she had broken into tears as she begged and tried her hardest to convince her son to put on a mask.
  • Lyon, Davis’ 2-year-old son, had refused to wear his mask as he was exhausted and having a meltdown.
  • On Instagram, Davis wrote that this experience had made her feel her ‘absolute lowest of lows as a mother’.

The tantrum of a 2-year-old resulted in a traumatic experience for both him and his mother. 

Rachel Starr Davis’ experience with American Airlines (AA) was one that left her and her son in tears. When traveling home to New Hampshire last month, Davis and Lyon were kicked off a plane after the boy went into meltdown mode and refused to wear his mask. While it is perfectly normal to see a 2-year-old throw a tantrum when they are tired, Davis conveyed that the AA did not show understanding, compassion, or patience. The single mother explained that she had begged, bribed, and pleaded with her son to get him to wear his mask. No matter what she had tried, he had continued to scream and cry, pushing his mask away. Her inability to convince him to wear his mask led to her hyperventilating, panicking, and eventually being kicked off the plane.

Davis shared her story on Instagram as she posted the following image and caption:

View this post on Instagram

I’m at a complete loss of words. The eyes of a mama-bear who just bawled her eyes out as she was forced off an airplane because her 2 year old wouldn’t keep his mask on. I tried repeatedly, begged him, bribed him, pleaded with him, did everything I could while he was screaming and crying as I tried to hold him and put the mask on, feeling my absolute lowest of lows as a mother. Before I even sat in my seat, flight attendant Terry on American Airlines flight 5595 from Charlotte, NC to Manchester, NH on September 17th, approached me and asked how old my son is, and demanded according to their policy he wear a mask. I told her this is our fourth American Airlines flight this week, and he has never been asked to wear a mask. She informed me he (my overtired two year old son) would need to comply with their company policy or we would be asked to leave the aircraft. As I tried to put down my things and get a mask out, I heard Terry on the phone saying “yea it’s clear there is going to be a problem and we will need you to come down”. The nastiest smug look on her face. I’ll save you the rest of the horror that happened on the plane, as I continued trying to get him to wear the mask, bawling my eyes out and hyperventilating behind my own suffocating mask. Desperate to get home after the worst week. He would have been asleep before we even pushed back if they had just been humans. The pilot had the final say, Lyon wears the mask or they will escort us off the plane. Rather than get themselves any bad press by escorting a crying mom and two year old off the plane, they forced everyone to deplane, and wouldn’t let us back on the flight home. Apparently before we got off the plane everyone who left before us lit up the crew in the gate area. The Captain walking right by me as I screamed my head off in my absolute worst moment. They moved us to a flight tonight, on the same airline who’s company policy kicked us off the last flight, because my two year old son wouldn’t keep a mask securely over his nose and mouth at all times. This is the world we live in? This is not a mask debate. This is a ‘be a god damned human’ debate. I will NEVER fly AA again.

A post shared by Rachel Starr Davis (@rachelstarrdavis) on

At what age should children wear face masks?

It is not clear at what age children should wear masks as statements regarding the safety of wearing face coverings contradict each other. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ‘children aged 5 years and under should not be required to wear masks’. On the other hand, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) writes that face masks ‘can be safely worn by all children age 2 years and older‘. Taking this further, American Airlines’ policy on face mask states that children over the age of 2 are required to wear face masks. In a statement to Yahoo Live, AA clarified this policy:

To ensure the safety of our customers and team, American Airlines requires all persons 2 years and older to wear an appropriate face covering throughout the entirety of their journey. Policies are enforced and approved face coverings are made available at key points throughout the customer journey. […] 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.

There were mixed feelings about Davis and Lyon’s experience. 

After Davis and Lyon were removed from the plane, they were eventually put on another AA flight. Speaking to Yahoo Live, the mother explained that nobody pushed for her son to wear a mask on the second flight. What is more, she claimed that the pilot on that flight had even ‘apologized profusely’. Therefore, it is evident that people have different views on the matter. In addition to this, people with conflicting views commented on Davis’ Instagram post; that is, some supported AA’s policy as they stressed the gravity of the pandemic whereas others expressed their shock at and disapproval of the way Davis and Lyon had been treated.

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