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-   -   UA Pilot Diverts to Remove Autistic Child From Plane for Safety Reasons (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-airlines-mileageplus/1678775-ua-pilot-diverts-remove-autistic-child-plane-safety-reasons.html)

mrboom May 14, 15 1:54 pm


Originally Posted by notquiteaff (Post 24816299)
According to news reports, police and paramedics came onboard in SLC.

I have received additional info that says this was treated as a medical issue. I have a better understanding now.

cruisr May 14, 15 1:55 pm


Originally Posted by saneman (Post 24816154)
As much as I felt UA inconvenienced other passengers(except for drama queen Hedlund) needlessly by diverting the flight(even if she scratched her dad, kids tend to regard their parents as their same personal space), I have always had some skepticism towards the attitude of the mother. I went on her facebook page and offered a comment supporting her notion that UA may have overreacted, but added that it would have been nice if she notified airlines beforehand to get a better idea of how to cope with such a situation. Immediately, I got replies from her coterie of friends who were not satisfied with a message that was less than 100% blindly supporting her even though I was critical of the airline in that same comment. I see no hope for the mother seeing the light in such a situation where she has this silly simplistic support structure.

A bunch of enablers that allow the Mother's sense of entitlement to continue.
She does not have to do anything as the world should revolve around her. The class war fare, which has no place in this argument, is another example of this mother's agenda. I am not blaming the teen in any way, I am blaming the Mom and her attitude which her daughter and everyone else are victims of.

MSPeconomist May 14, 15 2:05 pm


Originally Posted by reamworks (Post 24815651)
United's action has nothing to do with "autism" and the Mom knows this. This has everything to do with a warning about a passenger potentially becoming violent.

The mother runs some sort of socialist group that advocates for income equality. That's her right; it's a free country.

However she's using this incident, and exploiting her daughter, to get publicity for her cause. On this "Mother's" facebook, she's making this incident into an scenario revealing a strange class war, arguing it's unfair that her daughter didn't get first class accommodations (because Autism!). On her facebook she calls this "Discrimination by United."



In her mind, the "1%" is sitting up in First Class, undeservedly, and this she can't even get a little rice for a girl who deserves it even if she offers to pay for it! (She mentions the term "First Class" five times in her facebook account.) And her echo chamber of friends on facebook picks up on her class war. For example:



and



and



and



This was not about Autism. This is about her version of a Communist Utopia where we all get exactly what the Government decides our need to be. It is disgusting that she gets free media time and exploits a disabled young lady for the purposes of furthering her agenda.

I hope that United files a complaint with Child Protective Services. This child should be removed from this home pending an investigation.

Her friends aren't particularly literate either.

SS255 May 14, 15 2:24 pm

There are always 3 sides to every story.

I haven't read every post in this thread, so this point may have already been covered, but it's very possible that the decision to divert was made while the girl was still behaving in a manner which could be perceived as "violent" or "unpredictable." There were probably several minutes between the time the Captain ordered the emergency landing and the time that the plane actually got on the ground - plenty of time for the situation to de-escalate, but by then it would have been too late.

I'm also guessing that while the girl was in a heightened state of emotion, her mother matched her emotional intensity. It probably got quite tense in the cabin for a period of time, and when you factor in the mother's threat, I just don't see how UA could have taken the chance to continue on. The situation could have easily turned in the other direction, and fast.

Could the situation have been handled with more compassion? I'm guessing "yes," but it sounds like it started down the slippery slope as soon as the mother asked for hot food for her daughter, and did not get the answer she wanted.

JBord May 14, 15 2:41 pm


Originally Posted by mbarreto (Post 24816280)
LOL, ok, I'll agree to that.

but everyone else lost.

Just fly the plane to the destination.... deal with it there. Handcuff the kid if need be, but fly to the destination.

Can you imagine if UA had restrained the child? Even if the mother didn't go ballistic and need to be restrained herself, her story to the media would have garnered even more sympathy.

I'm sure UA could have restrained the child easily enough. But either as a corporate employee or just a human being, would you want to be the person remembered as handcuffing an autistic child?

The more facts that come out, the more I read, and the more the mother builds on her class warfare story, the more I hope UA will ban her for life, and make the child a lifetime GS. How about that for a new headline?

reamworks May 14, 15 2:59 pm


Originally Posted by JBord (Post 24816523)
The more facts that come out, the more I read, and the more the mother builds on her class warfare story, the more I hope UA will ban her for life, and make the child a lifetime GS. How about that for a new headline?

The mother certainly should be banned for life, but the child should qualify for GS if and when she meets United's internal spend requirements, just like everyone else. The child is no better or worse than anyone else, and should be treated like anyone else.

JBord May 14, 15 3:11 pm


Originally Posted by reamworks (Post 24816613)
The mother certainly should be banned for life, but the child should qualify for GS if and when she meets United's internal spend requirements, just like everyone else. The child is no better or worse than anyone else, and should be treated like anyone else.

Should have called that out as an exaggeration :).

I do think UA should ban the mother and do something nice for the girl as a PR move though. It's a nice move to show that they won't enable an activist agenda, and that they feel sorry for the girl for having a mother who uses her to advance that agenda.

zvezda May 14, 15 3:50 pm

It does appear that the mother has been exploiting the situation (and her child's autism) to advance an agenda of theft on a grand scale. I agree that the mother should be banned for life.

However, I think diversion should be a last resort. It is a huge burden for all the other passengers. The hypothetical possibility that a little girl might scratch someone, does not, in my opinion, come anywhere near justification of a diversion. If I had been another passenger on the flight, I would have preferred to be scratched than suffer a diversion. I see this as a serious exercise of bad judgement on the captain's part.

A few times, I have seen passengers let their carry-on pets out of the cages to sit on their laps. I think a cat running around the cabin would pose a much greater risk of scratching passengers than an autistic child. None of those flights were diverted, thankfully.

pruss2ny May 14, 15 5:07 pm


Originally Posted by zvezda (Post 24816864)
However, I think diversion should be a last resort. It is a huge burden for all the other passengers. The hypothetical possibility that a little girl might scratch someone, does not, in my opinion, come anywhere near justification of a diversion. If I had been another passenger on the flight, I would have preferred to be scratched than suffer a diversion. I see this as a serious exercise of bad judgement on the captain's part.

thru 23 pages many people have agreed essentially with your position.
but as others have pointed out: at the point that the mother made the "threat", UA was faced with near unlimited liability if something were then to have occurred. not to say that they couldn't have just continued thru to PDX and called it a day, but not hard to see why the captain had to make a call, and even if it was a bad call in regards to time wasted, it was even worse of the mom to create the situation using language that she HAD TO KNOW (as a frequent flier) was inflammatory.

planemechanic May 14, 15 5:31 pm


Originally Posted by zvezda (Post 24816864)
The hypothetical possibility that a little girl might scratch someone, does not, in my opinion, come anywhere near justification of a diversion.

All well and good, until that is it is your eye that she scratches out. Then you would be all over UA for not identifying the threat she posed, even when her mother, the women who knows her best WARNED THE AIRLINE IT COULD HAPPEN. That is why the decision to divert was a proper one, the mother notified the airline of a threat to other passengers, a threat she could not control, and the airline took appropriate action. EOS.

MikeMpls May 14, 15 8:25 pm


Originally Posted by saneman (Post 24810650)
If everyone in charge stopped looking for drama, then they would understand that. as I have said, the mother does seem to be a little bit of an self entitled lady judging by her facebook postings.

I don't get that impression at all. She comes across to me as fairly level-headed and articulate.

Here's her FB page: https://www.facebook.com/donna.m.beegle

Folks can read it & decide for themselves. There's lots of info about the UA incident embedded in the posts & replies.

wolf72 May 15, 15 12:35 am

Ban the mother for life? Some very bizzare comments on here...a small issue getting blown out of the water..


Carry on....

wolf72 May 15, 15 1:07 am

Some of these incidents are petty and could easily be resolved with a little bit of common courtesy (by the FA's) and less demanding by passengers (the mother) and maybe a little bit of planning on her part (the mother) without resorting to making comments like "when she starts scratching.."

I mean, both sides are at fault in this..the Flight attendant for being a complete jerk and not wanting to get the food heated up in the first place when he could have easily have done it without the theatrics...and the mother for over reacting and making it a bigger issue than it was...

Who suffered as a result? Everyone else..because 2 people could not communicate appropriately.

I am surprised no one has actually had a go at the FA for that "attitude" problem..

And this coming from a regular traveller who has seen the worst in passengers in China and India....

kettle1 May 15, 15 1:22 am


Originally Posted by wolf72 (Post 24818559)
Some of these incidents are petty and could easily be resolved with a little bit of common courtesy (by the FA's) and less demanding by passengers (the mother) and maybe a little bit of planning on her part (the mother) without resorting to making comments like "when she starts scratching.."

I mean, both sides are at fault in this..the Flight attendant for being a complete jerk and not wanting to get the food heated up in the first place when he could have easily have done it without the theatrics...and the mother for over reacting and making it a bigger issue than it was...

Who suffered as a result? Everyone else..because 2 people could not communicate appropriately.

I am surprised no one has actually had a go at the FA for that "attitude" problem..

And this coming from a regular traveller who has seen the worst in passengers in China and India....

I agree with you. Thanks for making it clear. Again, as I stated above - if this goes to trial and I am on the Jury - the mother gets ZERO.

Wolf72 have a great Weekend!

wolf72 May 15, 15 1:40 am


Originally Posted by kettle1 (Post 24818598)
I agree with you. Thanks for making it clear. Again, as I stated above - if this goes to trial and I am on the Jury - the mother gets ZERO.

Wolf72 have a great Weekend!

You too skipper..:)


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