Claim: Family Barred From Plane Due To Teen’s Down Syndrome
A California family is accusing American Airlines of discrimination after they say they were not allowed to board a cross-country flight because their son has Down syndrome.
Joan and Robert Vanderhorst and their son, Bede, 16, had first-class tickets to fly from Newark, N.J. to Los Angeles last weekend. But the family says that airline officials would not allow them to board the plane.
The airline contends that Bede was “excitable, running around and not acclimated to the environment,” claims that the family denies.
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The Vanderhorsts say they have flown many times before with their son, but this was the first time they planned to fly first class. They believe that the airline did not want to seat someone with Down syndrome in the upgraded cabin.
The family was able to fly home on a United Airlines flight but say they were assigned seats in the last row of the plane with no one sitting near them, reports KTLA.