Getting kicked off a flight sounds like a nightmare for anyone. But getting kicked off because your kid is crying is just inexcusable. That’s exactly what happened to an Israeli family on a flight to Switzerland when their 8-year-old son with autism began crying uncontrollably.
According to The Times of Israel, the Zalmanovich family flew to Zurich to see family, only to have the experience tainted on their connecting flight in Geneva. As if being kicked off isn’t bad enough, the airline staff did not inform them that their return tickets to Israel were also cancelled. It’s like they never saw a crying child before. Noa Zalmanvich,Yaheli’s mother, stated how the staff was largely unhelpful, according to the Israel Hayom:
“He threw up on himself, but no one from the flight crew asked us if we needed anything or if they could help or what could calm the child…They were busy apologizing to the other passengers for the inconvenience and shortly thereafter informed us that we had to disembark from the plane.”
After the incident, Swissair did agree to reimburse the family for their return tickets, roughly estimating $2,000. They also issued an apology statement:
“We deeply apologize for the ordeal that this family was put through. This kind of conduct is not characteristic of this company and does not coincide with our policy; on the contrary. Swiss is involved in the community, quietly makes donations and even recently flew a group of dozens of sick children to Switzerland. We want to stress that the incident is under strict scrutiny and we will make sure that the family is compensated.”
While we’re glad Swissair eventually did the right thing by compensating the family and issuing an apology, we’re also completely horrified by the fact that a child was made to feel ashamed of who they are. That behavior is not only gross (and there’s really no other way to put it) but carelessly ignorant.
We hope the airline learns how to be more empathetic–because they definitely need all the empathy they can get after this debacle.