Southwest Plane Returns To Gate After 2-Year-Old Removes Mask

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A mother and her 2-year-old child were reportedly escorted off of a Southwest Airlines flight Saturday because the child removed his mask to eat a snack.

Jodi Degyansky, 34, told USA Today that she was flying from Fort Myers, Florida, to Chicago with her son, Hayes Jarboe, when the child took off his mask to eat some snacks before takeoff. The flight attendant told her that her son needed to have his mask on, she said, although he was eating.

The plane, which had already left the gate, returned to the gate so that she and her son could be escorted off, she said according to the report. When the plane arrived back at the gate, her son had already put his mask back on, and Degyansky argued with airline staff, who did not listen to her. (RELATED: ‘Rapid Escalation’ Of Fight Over Toddler Not Wearing Face Mask Forces Canadian Airline To Cancel Flight)

The CDC says that children 2 years old or older should wear a mask, and Degyansky’s son had turned 2 just 2 weeks ago, she said.

“I know you have to draw the line but let’s be a little compassionate with everyone’s individual circumstances,” she told USA Today.

Airline personnel told her that some parents were using snacks as an excuse not to put masks on their children, but Degyansky said that wasn’t what she was doing.

“I’m sure other parents are going through this,” she said according to the report. “I want people to either do their homework before they choose to fly or find an airline that has more leniency.”

“I just felt like I can’t believe it happened,” Degyansky continued. “I was left scrambling — how the hell am I going to get home? What if I didn’t have the resources to buy a $600 ticket?”

“If a Customer is unable to wear a face covering for any reason, Southwest regrets that we are unable to transport the individual,” said Southwest Airlines spokesperson Ro Hawthorne. “In those cases, we will issue a full refund and hope to welcome the Customer onboard in the future, if public health guidance regarding face coverings changes.”