(KOIN) – An Oregon couple are unhappy with United Airlines after their autistic daughter was escorted off of a flight by police. They are now planning a discrimination lawsuit.
Donna Beegle told KOIN, “The captain never came back and said is everything ok, or even met her. Never. He landed a plane.”
It happened Tuesday on United Airlines.
On their way home from Disney World, during their connecting flight from Houston to Portland, “The plane landed. It’s ignorance and I get the ignorance but it has to change,” said Beegle.
15 year old Juliette of Tigard has traveled the world with her family. She loves swinging, and gymnastics, and swimming. She also has autism.
Beegle told KOIN, “Can you say, I’m frustrated? Can you say I’m frustrated? (Daughter makes noises)”
This is some of how she expresses her frustration — something her parents say they saw coming on the flight that day. “And i know her, when she gets over hungry or over thirsty she really struggles because she can’t tell us,” said Beegle.
After trying some other food she says they asked if they could purchase something hot from first class. She says they were initially told — no. “And I said ok, find we’ll get to the point where she’s crying and then you’re going to want to help her and that’s when he went and got a first class meal,” said Beegle.
The family says Juliette started to calm down and was watching a video. “And then we were shocked to hear them say we’re going to make an emergency landing in salt lake city we have a passenger in the back of the plane who has behavior issues,” said Beegle.
The next they knew, they were landing in Salt Lake City where airport police asked them to leave the plane. “So I started to cry, I was furious so I told them I’m not leaving until we get statements from the people because I could say she’s not a threat but they need to hear it from the passengers. So police officer got 10 pages of statements and he said you have a lot of people on your side saying this was not an issue,” said Beegle.
The family has now contacted a lawyer, saying Juliette never should have been treated this way. “It’s all about they need training, it’s uncalled for,” said Beegle
In a written statement provided to KOIN, United Airlines says “After working to accommodate Dr. Beegle and her daughter during the flight, the crew made the best decision for the safety and comfort of all our customers and elected to divert to Salt Lake City after the situation became disruptive.”
Copyright 2015 KOIN