Friday, June 27, 2008

Blogs abuzz after toddler with autism kicked off American Airlines flight

Jarett Farrell

WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., had a report June 23 about a toddler with autism and his mother being kicked off an American Airlines flight:

As the American Eagle flight headed down the taxiway, two-and-a-half-year-old Jarett Farrell wasn't a happy traveler.

His mother says she was doing all she could to calm the autistic boy, but got no sympathy from the flight crew.

"If they just would have been a little more understanding, I think that none of this would have been a problem," Mother, Janice Farrell said.

But it became a big problem for everyone on the plane. Farrell says that's because the flight attendant was indignant.

"She kept coming over and tugging his seatbelt to make it tighter, 'This has to stay tight'. And then he was wiggling around and trying to get out of his seatbelt. And she kept coming over and reprimanding him and yelling at him," Farrell said.

A blog post about it on the Chicago Tribune Web site drew dozens of comments.

And Autism writer Lisa Jo Rudy questioned whether this was even a newsworthy story.