Autistic Girl and Her Parents Removed From Airplane — But Is jetBlue to Blame?
A pilot for jetBlue Airways had a girl and her parents removed from the aircraft on which they were to fly as passengers from Nantucket to Boston — the duration of the flight is approximately 20 minutes on an Embraer E190 regional jet aircraft — because the 13-year-old girl was crying and refused to buckle her seat belt prior to departure.
Mia Galindo — who was supposedly diagnosed with autism, cannot talk, and uses a tablet as a primary mode of communication — was reportedly upset because she thought her father had left the airplane. Her father was actually aboard the aircraft and seated ten rows ahead of her and her mother Emily, who were seated together at the rear of the aircraft.
Because the family was unable to get Mia under control, they were told by the pilot to leave the aircraft — reportedly claiming that Mia was “a potential danger to other passengers” — after the airplane returned to the gate at the airport.
Emily Galindo — who supposedly refused to fly on jetBlue Airways ever again as a result of this incident — claimed that the family was forced to fend for themselves and spend nearly two days and $2,000.00 to return home to the Harrisburg area of Pennsylvania from Nantucket. This included:
- Taking a ferry from Nantucket to the southern shore of Massachusetts
- Hiring a taxi cab for transportation from the ferry terminal to the bus terminal
- Riding as passengers on a bus to Boston
- Staying overnight in a hotel property in Boston
- Renting a car to drive from Boston to Baltimore-Washington International Airport to pick up their parked car
- Driving home in their own car from the airport
A travel voucher was offered by jetBlue Airways to the Galindo family — but it was refused, as the family wanted a full refund of their airfare and a full apology for the incident instead.
Here is a video report by Jesse Knutson of WHP-TV CBS Channel 21 News in Harrisburg.
Unfortunately, the Galindo family is not receiving much support from FlyerTalk members.
While jetBlue Airways may have been following rules and guidelines from the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States, I cannot help but wonder if this situation could have been easily resolved on the part of the:
- Flight crew by figuring out a way for the family to be together; or
- Family, who could have communicated to jetBlue Airways ahead of time to alert crew members of Mia and her autism
Did the family put the needs of their child ahead of the safety of others and attempt to have the flight crew break the law? Could the flight crew of that particular jetBlue Airways aircraft have done more to avoid this situation altogether? Does jetBlue Airways owe the Galindo family an apology — or perhaps could the Galindo family owe jetBlue Airways an apology for bringing this story out publicly to the media?
Perhaps there is blame to go all around — or perhaps there is more to this story than what we know…