An Oregon woman claims United Airlines kicked her family, including her 15-year-old daughter with autism, off of a flight.
Donna Beegle told ABC News that her daughter Juliette, 15, has autism and even though she is smart, she often has difficulty in social situations.
Beegle said that her family was flying from Houston to Portland on May 5 and Juliette hadn’t eaten dinner before boarding the plane. Beegle said she has to bring snacks for Juliette to keep her blood sugar up and prevent her from getting antsy.
Juliette won’t eat room temperature food and since Beegle had no way to pack hot snacks, she said she asked a flight attendant for meal that had been heated.
After speaking with a flight attendant, she could tell Juliette was getting frustrated. Eventually, they brought her rice and jambalaya, Beegle said Juliette ate it and was fine.
About 25 minutes into the flight Beegle said there was announcement about a emergency landing due to a passenger with “a behavior issue.”
Paramedics then boarded the plane, while Juliette watched a video.
“The paramedic said this was an over-reactive flight attendant and started shaking his head, and said ‘We have real work to do’ and left,” she said. “We were still baffled.”
Next, police boarded the plane. When they began to leave, realizing Juliette was calm, the pilot came out to speak with them.
“He said, ‘The captain has asked us to ask you to step off the plane.'” Beegle said. “I said, ‘She didn’t do anything’ … But the captain said he’s not comfortable flying on to Portland with [Juliette] on the plane.”
Beegle said she is planning to file a lawsuit against United Airlines.
United Airlines told ABC News in a statement: “After working to accommodate Dr. Beegle and her daughter during the flight, the crew made the best decision for the safety and comfort of all of our customers and elected to divert to Salt Lake City after the situation became disruptive. We rebooked the customers on a different carrier and the flight continued to Portland.”