A MUM has slammed an airline for kicking her 21-year-old autistic son off the flight for being “too violent” during an outburst, despite not hurting other passengers.
Andrea Iavarone was travelling with her son, Nicco, on a Swoop Airlines flight to Florida last week.
Andrea explained to Global News Canada that the crew were aware of his disability when boarding at Hamilton, which means he is “mentally like a small child”.
They were allowed to pre-board before other passengers.
She had booked a whole row, with Nicco sitting in the window seat, while she and her friend sat in the middle and aisle seat.
However, shortly after boarding, Nicco began hitting her and yelling.
She explained: “He’s non-verbal, so he doesn’t really have a way to voice what frustrates him.
“Sometimes my son hits himself on the head, but he’s not like that continuously.”
Despite Andrea claiming she had flown “dozens of times” with Nicco without a problem, she was quickly told by crew that he would not be flying with them.
She claims they said that he was “violent” and were “worried for the safety of [the] other passengers”.
Andrea tried to explain that his behaviour wouldn’t last for long and he wouldn’t harm anyone else, but to no avail.
She added to The Star: “If a small child had a temper tantrum on the plane and they pulled their mother’s hair, would they get kicked off the airplane? Because that’s exactly what it’s like.”
They were then taken off the flight, before being offered Swoop credit for her flight but not Nicco’s.
Andrea refused and asked for a full refund of their flights and another flight replacement.
Swoop later refunded both tickets, but have not covered her additional costs after being forced to book a last minute flight with Air Canada.
Andrea shared a video of her son on Instagram to raise awareness.
The video, which has been viewed 12,000 times, explained: “Nicco is a special needs child who is just kicked off swoop airlines because they say he is violent…and they were concerned about the safety of other passengers even though he had the window seat and his mother was sitting next to him at the time.
“Shocked and in disbelief. “
Others agreed with her, with one person commenting: “This whole situation is shameful and I dearly hope that you and your family can get this sorted out.”
Another added: “Are they serious? Poor boy. This is disgusting.”
A statement from Swoop explained they are “entrusted to ensure the safety and security of all its travellers and employees […] in accordance with our established protocol.”
An autistic passengers was “banned” from sitting next to his family during a flight – before they were all kicked off the plane.
A 15-year-old boy with autism was also removed from a flight after Ryanair “tried to charge £25 for his comfort doll”.
Sun Online Travel contacted Swoop for additional comment.