Passengers support Autistic girl forced off plane

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ASPartOfMe
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09 May 2015, 12:00 pm

Parents realized their 15 year old Autistic daughter was nearing a meltdown due to lack of food and requested a meal from first class and was refused. When the parents mentioned this might trigger a meltdown the pilot diverted the plane and landed. The police came and took statements from passengers whom supported the Autistic girl

‘Fear of autism’ forces Oregon family off plane


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09 May 2015, 12:16 pm

[Sigh]. So unnecessary. The end result will likely be an apology from the airline for violating the federal ADA, and offer to give the family free airline tickets (or waive the originally paid fees). I hope the family also demands that the airline teach about in-flight ASD accommodations. They certainly do need it. I applaud the other passengers who were apparently just as confused by the crews' behavior as the family was.


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alex
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09 May 2015, 1:46 pm

They'd rather land the plane than give her food? That's crazy.


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ASPartOfMe
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09 May 2015, 1:51 pm

alex wrote:
They'd rather land the plane than give her food? That's crazy.


We live in the post 9-11 era when many people think anybody who is different is feared to be a potential terrorist, especially on a airplane. Thankfully the passengers did not give in to this fear.


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09 May 2015, 1:53 pm

alex wrote:
They'd rather land the plane than give her food? That's crazy.

Actually, they gave her a meal, then landed and kicked the family off anyways. That's even crazier.



AspieUtah
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09 May 2015, 2:00 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
alex wrote:
They'd rather land the plane than give her food? That's crazy.

We live in the post 9-11 era when many people think anybody who is different is feared to be a potential terrorist, especially on a airplane. Thankfully the passengers did not give in to this fear.

Yep. It is the worldwide "Zero Tolerance" era. Sanity and intelligence be damned.


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09 May 2015, 2:52 pm

This hardly is surprising. At least the passengers tried to reason with the crew, which is good, but the crew saw themselves as higher-powered than everyone else.

I remember when I was younger having meltdown after meltdown, I was sent to the principal's office by a teacher who was from Russia, but she was from Russia so she didn't give a crap that I was in special ed. Even when I tried to reason with her to not send an autistic classmate to the principal's office, we both got sent to the principal's office anyway.


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09 May 2015, 3:46 pm

starkid wrote:
alex wrote:
They'd rather land the plane than give her food? That's crazy.

Actually, they gave her a meal, then landed and kicked the family off anyways. That's even crazier.


Exactly.

You know, as much as people try to paint this being about autism, I don't think it was about that at all. It was a just your typical "emergency decision by committee" kind of situation where everyone tries to cover their arse. The cabin crew alerted the pilot - they're covered. The pilot decided to make an "emergency" landing - he's covered. The police only enforced the pilot's orders - they're covered.

As sad as this outcome is, look at it from the pilot's point of view: could he lose his job for making the landing? Could he lose it for not making the landing? Less cynically: what's the worst case scenario for the airline if he makes the landing? What's the worst case scenario for the airline if he doesn't?

It's not "airline vs autism", it's just a business taking a calculated approach to a risk. That doesn't mean we have to like it, but I wouldn't hold much hope for it changing.


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0regonGuy
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10 May 2015, 12:56 am

Another article with a video of them being removed.

‘She wasn’t put off plane because of autism’

I don't think she has a case. I have to wonder why the mother didn't bring the proper food with her, or make arrangements ahead of time to get hot food.


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10 May 2015, 1:50 am

0regonGuy wrote:
Another article with a video of them being removed.

‘She wasn’t put off plane because of autism’

I don't think she has a case. I have to wonder why the mother didn't bring the proper food with her, or make arrangements ahead of time to get hot food.


A) You cannot take food on planes that comes in containers let alone hot items for security reasons. You will literally be stopped from boarding by TSA agents if not stopped at security in the front of the airports.

B) if you are flying out of a busy airport, such as Orlando's, you probably don't have time to stop and get the food your kids want. This is due to security being backed up do to heavy business. You are lucky if you get to you gate 20 minutes early. If you do have time to stop for said food, there probably is a decent line with a decent wait time to get to order and then longer to get the food, forcing you to skip it.

C)It's literally not possible to plan for all possible outcomes for possible food issues, since people get hungry at anytime for any food, especially while traveling. Make it even worse, the attendants aren't supposed to give non first class passengers hot food unless it is an international flight. The attendants can be fired for breaking protocol, even if they charge the passengers for the meal. Your lucky if you get more than small sandwich and bag of peanuts and water for a in country flight these days. Last time I flew back in 2005, the food was awful and my bread on the sandwich was dry and stale. Oh they refused to exchange it due to rules.

D) it's not unusual for a teen to get into a fight with flight attendants for something they want. It is very rare for a pilot to emergency land if a teen is causing trouble. Though if you are a disabled person flying, there is a significant chance it will make the pilot, attendants and passengers uncomfortable enough to force you to deplane. It happens too often.

E)Pilots under U.S. law have the right to emergency land if passenger(s) behavior is making them, the crew or enough passengers feeling insecure. This applies to little kids and babies, if they are crying and screaming over something. Over the past decade many airlines have been sued for emergency landings over crying babies and little kids. They lost most of the suits. They can even land the plane if you're praying in arabic (they've done this too)

F) You are lucky if you have enough time to get a drink of something and go to the bathroom if you are traveling through a busy airport, due to security lines.

Lastly if you have a disability like bipolar, autism, severe depression, OCD etc... they are enough to make most people feel insecure and uncomfortable around you and cause TSA to pull you out of line for additional security measures and questioning. It has also led to pilots forcing passengers off the plane as well.

So if you have any real disability that makes people uncomfortable and insecure, you be prepared for the public backlash including deplaning. Thus you should take private transportation to your destination.

This is coming from someone with numerous disabilities including physical ones.
Yes I have been questioned at security about it and it does make some people uncomfortable around me.

In the end this all boils down to the girl's autism and the way security operates.
The airline will either lose in court or settle to avoid a bigger loss and public black eye.


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Evam
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10 May 2015, 2:27 am

FMX wrote:

You know, as much as people try to paint this being about autism, I don't think it was about that at all. It was a just your typical "emergency decision by committee" kind of situation where everyone tries to cover their arse. The cabin crew alerted the pilot - they're covered. The pilot decided to make an "emergency" landing - he's covered. The police only enforced the pilot's orders - they're covered.

As sad as this outcome is, look at it from the pilot's point of view: could he lose his job for making the landing? Could he lose it for not making the landing? Less cynically: what's the worst case scenario for the airline if he makes the landing? What's the worst case scenario for the airline if he doesn't?

It's not "airline vs autism", it's just a business taking a calculated approach to a risk. That doesn't mean we have to like it, but I wouldn't hold much hope for it changing.


There is a lot to what you say, but still: it is also a (lack of) judgement issue. Other flight attendants would have reacted differently, they might have been better at judging the situation, at reacting to it and would have been able to handle a protocol with flexibility. Or the pilot might have judged the information he got from a crew member according to what the crew member said and about what he thinks about the power of judgement about that crew member. So it finally DOES come down to a question of ability or disability - but of that of the crew members.



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10 May 2015, 7:11 am

Evam wrote:
FMX wrote:

You know, as much as people try to paint this being about autism, I don't think it was about that at all. It was a just your typical "emergency decision by committee" kind of situation where everyone tries to cover their arse. The cabin crew alerted the pilot - they're covered. The pilot decided to make an "emergency" landing - he's covered. The police only enforced the pilot's orders - they're covered.

As sad as this outcome is, look at it from the pilot's point of view: could he lose his job for making the landing? Could he lose it for not making the landing? Less cynically: what's the worst case scenario for the airline if he makes the landing? What's the worst case scenario for the airline if he doesn't?

It's not "airline vs autism", it's just a business taking a calculated approach to a risk. That doesn't mean we have to like it, but I wouldn't hold much hope for it changing.


There is a lot to what you say, but still: it is also a (lack of) judgement issue. Other flight attendants would have reacted differently, they might have been better at judging the situation, at reacting to it and would have been able to handle a protocol with flexibility. Or the pilot might have judged the information he got from a crew member according to what the crew member said and about what he thinks about the power of judgement about that crew member. So it finally DOES come down to a question of ability or disability - but of that of the crew members.


Yes, they could have perhaps judged the situation better in this particular case. I agree with you there. All I'm saying is we should not expect this to change, even if she wins her lawsuit (which sounds unlikely to me), simply because the pilot's decision will always be the one that minimises risk for himself and the airline, not the one that favours passengers. If I was in the pilot's place I may well have done the same thing.

If she actually was "howling" beforehand then that further supports the pilot's decision. Maybe she just made a little bit of noise once and cabin crew reported it to the pilot as "she's howling!" Who knows? Such stories are always more complicated than they first seem!

Was she actually a threat to anyone? Probably not. Could the pilot be sure of that? No. As long as there is some reasonable doubt about what risk she posed the airline could justify the decision in court - and there is always going to be reasonable doubt.


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10 May 2015, 7:49 am

FMX wrote:
Was she actually a threat to anyone? Probably not.


No, not probably, definitely not. Autism or Asperger's doesn't cause you to turn violent, and nor does a 15 year old girl become violent. So, no -- not a threat, not even a slight chance.



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10 May 2015, 11:33 am

AspieUtah wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
alex wrote:
They'd rather land the plane than give her food? That's crazy.

We live in the post 9-11 era when many people think anybody who is different is feared to be a potential terrorist, especially on a airplane. Thankfully the passengers did not give in to this fear.

Yep. It is the worldwide "Zero Tolerance" era. Sanity and intelligence be damned.


Not that I support it, but the Zero Tolerance philosophy might be workable if it was applied to those in administration/command as well. Autistic kid threatens to go meltdown mid flight? De-plane the kid and their family, but also publicly execute the captain for gross incompetence resulting from his gross ignorance of and discriminatory attitudes towards the needs of his passengers.


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10 May 2015, 3:31 pm

Moromillas wrote:
FMX wrote:
Was she actually a threat to anyone? Probably not.


No, not probably, definitely not. Autism or Asperger's doesn't cause you to turn violent, and nor does a 15 year old girl become violent. So, no -- not a threat, not even a slight chance.

I don't know, biting someone is fairly violent...


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10 May 2015, 6:37 pm

RhodyStruggle wrote:
AspieUtah wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
alex wrote:
They'd rather land the plane than give her food? That's crazy.

We live in the post 9-11 era when many people think anybody who is different is feared to be a potential terrorist, especially on a airplane. Thankfully the passengers did not give in to this fear.

Yep. It is the worldwide "Zero Tolerance" era. Sanity and intelligence be damned.


Not that I support it, but the Zero Tolerance philosophy might be workable if it was applied to those in administration/command as well. Autistic kid threatens to go meltdown mid flight? De-plane the kid and their family, but also publicly execute the captain for gross incompetence resulting from his gross ignorance of and discriminatory attitudes towards the needs of his passengers.


Can anybody give me one court decision that says a airline can't deplane an autistic kid who is having or who is about to have a meltdown? I don't think any court would rule that. If they did it would open up the door to having people with a variety of different mental conditions on planes that might not be compatible with flying.

Anyway I think the real problem here was the mother's conduct, not the daughter's. When the mother said “You know what? Maybe after she has a meltdown and she’s crying and trying to scratch, then you’ll help us,”. At that point the pilot had no choice but to say, OK give her what ever she needs, and I'll try to get the plane landed before that happens.


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