A family was kicked off a Southwest flight when their 2-year-old son could not keep his face mask on – but a private pilot who watched the dad’s Facebook post about the incident offered them a free roundtrip ride, according to reports.
Erik Harvey and his wife Michelle planned for their April 1 trip from Denver to Austin, Texas, by trying to get their son Jackson used to wearing a face covering, as mandated by regulations.
“I practiced with him at least two or three times at the house and every time he threw it off, but I figured that [Southwest] would work with us on the plane because he’s 2,” Michelle told Fox 7.
Jackson was wearing his mask when the family boarded.
Erik said everything went “swimmingly – until it wasn’t” when the boy ripped off his mask, Fox News reported.
“The [flight attendant] came up to me and, at that point, Jackson had taken off his mask. She said, ‘I’m sorry, ma’am. You’re going to have to get off the plane. Your son needs to wear his mask,’” Michelle told Fox 7.
After pleading that they could try to hold the mask up to Jackson’s face, the family said they were again ordered off the plane.
“So we gathered up our things … and we walked off of that plane in a daze,” Michelle’s hubby said in the Facebook video, which James Peck, an old family friend and private pilot, happened to watch.
“I knew that I could use that as a great excuse to go take a flight and help them out and get them here,” Peck told Fox 7.
“I have a family of my own and it’s not impossible to get your kids to be awesome on a flight, but to get them to be able to keep a mask on the entire time has its challenges,” he added.
Peck flew his twin-engine plane to Denver, picked up the family and flew them to Austin at no charge. He also offered to fly them back to Denver later.
“I just was floored. I just said [to my husband], ‘You know what, babe? I’m nervous, but I feel like turning him down would be rude like this is an opportunity,” Michelle told the station.
In a statement to Fox 7, Southwest said: “We regret the inconvenience this family experienced on their recent Southwest Airlines trip. However, federal law requires all Customers two and over to wear a face mask while at the airport and onboard the aircraft.”
It said the company’s customer relations team reached out to the family “to further discuss the situation.”
But Erik told Fox 7 that “miracles will come to you, things will show up and that Good Samaritan will show up.”
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