A mother traveling with her 2-year-old from Fort Myers to Chicago was ordered off the plane over Southwest Airline’s mask policy. She said her family was following the rules, but it wasn’t enough.
Jodi Degyansky said she took a picture on a Southwest Airlines flight recently before she was forced to leave the plane with her son. She took it to prove her son can and did wear a mask on the plane and that her family supports mask use.
“I’ve read a lot about showing your kids themselves in the mirror or showing your kids getting together and playgroups and having the kids see how cool it is to wear masks,” Degyansky said. “We do all of that. That’s very important.”
Sometimes it can be a struggle, though, Degyansky explained. She said after her 2-year-old ate his snack, it took a few minutes to get the mask back on. That worried the flight crew.
“They said, you know, we’ve had a lot of families who have used food as an excuse for families to not put masks on their kids during flights,” Degyansky said. “Just can’t have that.”
Degyansky assured the flight attendant that wasn’t the case.
“I turned around and gave them a thumbs up to let them know his mask was pulled up,” Degyansky said.
But that wasn’t good enough. The plane returned to the gate.
“The gate manager came up and said, ‘Ma’am, you need to deboard the plane. Your son is improperly wearing his mask,’” Degyanksy said.
So Degyansky stood her son up, showed everyone and took a picture. She said the mask was on, and he was ready to go.
But the gate manager insisted they get off the plane.
“It was awful,” Degyanksy said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been that upset or humiliated.”
When Southwest offered to book her on another flight, Degyansky said thanks, but no thanks.
Degyanksy said on her flight from Chicago to Fort Myers, the crew told her to do her best with the mask on her son. So she’s confused by the lack of consistency.
For its part, Southwest said it’s investigating what happened and plans to reach out to Degyanksy and her son.