Girl with autism kicked off plane because captain didn’t ‘feel comfortable’ flying with her

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A mother in Oregon is planning a discrimination lawsuit after her daughter, who has autism, was escorted off a United Airlines flight along with the rest of her family.

KATU reports Donna Beegle was returning home from Disney World with her family, including her 15-year-daughter Juliette, when Juliette got hungry.

Beegle told the station her daughter did not want the food she had bought, and did not like the food they had on board. The mother said she went up to a flight attendant to ask if they had any hot food.

After a “25-minute back-and-forth,” according to KATU, Beegle said she was told they could not accommodate the girl because the family was sitting in economy class, not first class.

“I just kind of said, ‘You know what? Maybe after she has a meltdown and she’s crying and trying to scratch, then you’ll help us,'” Beegle told the station.

According to KATU the flight attendant eventually complied, but then about 30 minutes later a member of the flight crew said the plane would be making an emergency landing because of a passenger behavior issue.

“Then the police said, ‘Well, you know, we’re going to have to ask you to leave the plane.’ And I said, ‘I don’t understand why? There’s no issue. What is the problem?’ And he said, ‘Well, the captain doesn’t feel comfortable flying to Portland with your daughter on the plane,'” Beegle told KATU.

United Airlines released a statement to KATU that said the following:

“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 of our customers and elected to divert to Salt Lake City after the situation became disruptive. We rebooked the customers on a different carrier and the flight continued to Portland.”

According to KATU Beegle said she is in the process of filing a lawsuit. She has filed claims with both United Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration.




  • Diane

    “I just kind of said, ‘You know what? Maybe after she has a meltdown and she’s crying and trying to scratch, then you’ll help us,’” Beegle told the station. ” unquote
    Could be construed as a threat and if I’m in the jury box the family walks away with nothing .

    • Éowyn Fair

      Diane, how could you honestly call that a threat? Let’s examine this concept here…a threat is when someone says they will intentionally cause harm or discomfort to someone if they do not comply with what is asked of them. This mom simply stated a fact: her child has autism, she needs some hot food, if she doesn’t get something that she can eat she can become aggressive because she is autistic and many times those kids don’t understand concepts like “wait” or “try something else” and become distressed when things aren’t what they consider normal. Instead of simply selling the family some hot food, they wasted time and money landing the plane at a different airport.

      • zoomzoomdiva

        Eowyn, it is definitely a threat to the crew, that if this person does not get her way, she will have a meltdown and make everyone on the plane miserable. The child had food available to her that was perfectly able to address her hunger and physical needs. She is not entitled to a special hot meal just because she wants one, or to have what she considers “normal”.

      • silent_screamer

        The family was asked to deboard the plane because of the mother’s poor choice of words . And yes the statement she, herself repeated, could be contrused as a threat.

        She was harrassing both the other passengers and the flight crew. I feel sorry for the others who were inconvenienced by the delay. I would hate to miss connecting flights , connecting shuttles , or other appointments because this mother had to canvas the everyone for statements

        .People have been asked to leave flight for less.

    • Beth

      It seems to me that the request for a hot meal was a request for an accommodation, and by giving the mother grief over something that they could provide relatively easily, I would feel that the discrimination began there. My opinion is that the mother’s comment was more likely the frustration of having to fight against the already occurring discrimination and shouldn’t be given too much weight as far as how it came across. The mother’s statement is fairly accurate as to what can happen when someone with Autism is struggling with coping with something (and sensory issues are a fairly common trigger–such as the temperature of food and being hungry).

      • zoomzoomdiva

        Discrimination? Stop being a drama llama! Just because the airline was not going to give the mother and her child special treatment for her wants does not mean anybody is being discriminated against.

      • Jeremiah

        You seem to think that airplanes have fully stocked kitchens on board. This wasn’t a case of simply asking the chef to whip up an extra plate. The hot meal the flight attendant gave the girl (after threats of violence from the mother) was most likely taken away from another passenger who actually paid for it.

    • Debbie

      I agree with you Diane. Everyone wants to be accommodated for every physical or mental issue, That is her parents responsibility not the airline. I am disabled and have to take food with my medication so i bring food when i travel. If the family brought some food that needed to be heated, I am sure the airline could have popped in in the warmer for them.

    • Jason Watson

      Diane Downs? Sounds like you snuck out a message. Do the guards know you are out of your cell? Someone as brain dead as you would hopefully never set foot in a jury box.

    • Zebra Stripes

      Yep, that’s a threat. Maybe the woman will learn to keep her mouth shut and plan ahead the next time she flies with her daughter.

    • Kim

      Do you know what it’s like to have a child with special needs? We as parents and caregivers have to fight everyday for equality. These individuals do not understand and comprehend things the same way as you and I. All this mom wanted was a little consideration for her daughter. What was the problem with them selling them hot food? Because they weren’t sitting in first class?!?!?! Give me a break!!! I will not fly United after this.

      • zoomzoomdiva

        Kim, you clearly have no idea what equality is about. In this case, the mother is not seeking to have her and her daughter treated equally, but to have special privileges granted to them by the airline. Grow up and stop expecting the rest of the world to revolve around you and your special wants.

      • D

        Ridiculous! The responsibility falls on the parents for making any accommodations ahead of time, food, meds, whatever. Why should other paying passengers have to deal with these issues just because the parents didn’t prepare for what they knew would be a potential problem? Maybe this was a premeditated law suit. Headlines for a Mother with an autistic child around Mother’s Day…. The airline was well within their right to protect the well being if all the other passengers on that flight.

      • GM

        Here is my thought, was there danger, did the person use force or endangered someone. It seems United crew was over reacting to the situation.

      • T Martin

        By regulation, if a crew member is threatened, then there is a security risk. It’s cut and dried. If they didn’t follow through and the child did act up and hurt a crew member or passenger then the crew is liable for not following guidelines.

  • Rick

    Autism or not, that behavior is not acceptable on an airliner these days. Any terrorist could claim autism and do whatever?

  • sharinglifewautism

    diane – living this life is not easy but clearly easy for you to judge off one statement from a mother who lives in a constant state of crisis. i know she does bc i live it too everyday.
    there have been studies showing mother’s of children with autism suffer the same stress levels and ptsd as combat soldiers. yet parents like myself push on and struggle daily to provide all the necessary treatments, therapies and care 24 hours a day 7 days a week with little to no support. the fact that this mom was traveling with her daughter is a testament to her resilience.
    it is extremely stressful to travel with a child with needs and really what was the big deal to accommodate this family with something that was warm for this young girl. would they have denied the same request for another medical need??
    when you travel with a child with needs it is already complicated and stressful before you even get started, so much planning is involved, working with the child in preparation to go through the motions of getting to the point of sitting on the plane.
    what i dont understand is why the emergency landing?? was she running up and down the aisles and screaming, head banging scratching others?? it does not seem that was the case at all, so what was the problem why did they make an emergency landing??
    to me it sounds like this airline and their crew have had little training with Autism Spectrum Disorders. i will not ever fly this airline with my son until they have training in place for their personnel. i will stick with Virgin America Airlines and delta, they have always been so supportive of my child traveling.
    i have been on many flights over many years with people who have been more disruptive that knew better and at no time was an emergency landing warranted.

    • Debbie

      They seemed well trained to many of us,,They thought the safety of other passengers might be at risk, They did the right thing. Maybe some planning on meal time and bringing food with them for their daughter might have helped. Another frivolous lawsuit filed.Unreal!

      • Jason Watson

        Debbie why dont you get a clue or get lost. Are you for real? You can not plan for everything and airlines do not let you just carry on anything you want. Autism is a disability for a reason. Would you blame someone for having an epileptic seizure? Would you expect to be villinized if you had a heart attack tommorow at the store? Everone has their own health conditions and many are brought on by life choices. Autism isn’t asked for. Her mother probably has nitwits like you to deal with daily, so I am sure she is as prepared as possible but sometimes things happen. For one thing MANY autistics can eat 5-6-7 times a day and still have mental cravibgs for food even though it is not needed. Why the #/!k do you think it is a developmental disability? You are trying to apply “normal” range logic to a condition that by it’s very nature is not “normal” or logical. You might know that if you spent 5 minutes looking outside your bubble of judgement and looked into the illness.

      • Zebra Stripes

        Good post. Sounds like these parents can’t raise their child properly and want everyone else to help them out.

      • T Martin

        You can’t raise an autistic child normally. They are different. Mine is missing part of a chromosome. He will never be normal. Your ignorance is showing.

    • Jason Watson

      Yes indeed. So many judemental pigs aroud the trough these days. Must be nice to be them, with their norman rockwell lives and perfect little children. If I had a nickel for every punk I had to straighten up or beat up while growing up with my autistic brother I would be rich. It taught me resilience and immense internal strength and resolve though. The little town I live in has many disabled in the community, so this little hick town has more class and compassion than many so called metro cities and their so called culturally enriched environments. A little understanding goes a long way. Anyway, thank you for posting. It’s nice to hear another’s story of life with Autism, not another yapper with no clue.

    • Marilyn

      SharinglifewAutism I have seen adults act worse and nothing was done. I think this was a airline who needs to give their helpers a lot more empathy training and more common sense. But the common sense can’t be bought or taught! I have seen 1st hand as to how some of these flight attendants and workers are so rude to us!

    • zoomzoomdiva

      A hot meal is not a medical need. It is a want desired by the daughter. The food the mother brought with her would have satisfied the physical/medical need of hunger. The reason people have issues with empathy is because you expect too much of them, that everybody should simply bend over backwards to do what you want (and falsely call it a need).

      • rt1234

        I can’t help but wonder what you would think if you had a child or grandchild with autism…something tells me you’d be singing a different tune.

    • steve S

      I have a child with autism and this mother was out of line. When I travel I make sure he has everything he needs. I don’t ask for handouts or certain accomodations because of his disability. If airlines start accomdating special needs people with hot meals or whatever they ask for then what is to say they cant accomodate everyone in coach? Should they just make the whole plane first class? Yes, that is a whole new debate sorry.
      I hope her suit gets dropped. She has a PhD and I hope she has some common sense to kow what she did was wrong. She threatened the flight crew that a lone is enough to get her taken off. you can’t go tell them that your child is going to start hurting others if she doesn’t get her way. I think that is what made them divert because the airline doesnt want to be held liable for a child passenger hurting other passengers. Again my opinion and that is all it is but it’s common sense.

    • Natalie

      Beautifully said. I too have 2 autistic kids. I was just on a flight with a child that kicked, screamed and slapped his mom and everyone around him for 3 1/2 hours. He absolutely knew better and no one with making an emergency landing for him. The crew knew she was autistic and made that their excuse. They are called special needs for reason and special consideration and empathy is what that family should have received. That mother brought food on board but the child did not like it. And sometimes that happens with autistic kids. You can’t plan for that. It’s an unfortunate circumstance and the crew could’ve made an exception for her. I saw an elderly woman make special requests and get special privileges on the flight I was on as well. How is that justifiable but for a child it is not!

  • Paul wood

    We will take evey effort never to fly united air lines again. They will lose thousands of dollars by this actions, they should be ashamed !

      • Jason Watson

        Debbie is just a troll pig and she knows it. She adds nothing to the conversation except continued ignorance. Keep drinking that Kool Aid Debs! Whatever you do don’t expand that pea brain.

      • John Nemo

        What this says to me is that they are not competent enough to handle a special needs teenager without an emergency landing. If an actual terrorist was on board everyone would be screwed.

      • Zebra Stripes

        Agreed. They seem very responsible by ejecting people who are disruptive and threatening.

    • Jason Schwerin

      Mother telling someone that the daughter was going to start scratching people is probably what did it. It was most likely her words, not her daughter’s actions. The minute you bring up a threat to other passengers, you have to mitigate it.

  • Cliff Loveland

    We have an autistic grand daughter. We have seen the utter frustration she has had sometimes with the very simplest tasks. Although she is better now after years of help from wonderful professionals, we still have to and with love make some accommodations. I cannot believe that there is any reason that United could not have provided a hot meal and see if the situation as they perceived it would have resolved itself. It isn’t as if the whole family wanted special treatment, and that was explained by her mother, a doctor. We have always flown with United, but we too, will look for other ways to make our trips. The only words I can think of are callous and pathetic.

    • Jason Watson

      Good, I hope you stick to that. United needs to feel the loss in income from this. United apparently doesn’t realize autism is an epidemic now and the rates are higher every year meaning lots of frequent fliers either have an autistic loved one or know someone who does. If everyone like that booked elsewhere they would easily lose millions if not billions in yearly revenue. Unfortunately so many people are obsessed with convenience and will sell their souls for saving a minute or two or a few bucks. Their are airlines out there that are much more autism friendly. My autistic brother has flown many times and never had a problem. I wont list any as it would probably be deleted as promoting a brand but they are out there. Google is our friend! Unck Fuited Airlines.

    • T Martin

      Cliff, where was United supposed to get this hot meal at 350 feet. Just pull over? I am a commercial pilot and a dad of an autistic son.

      The woman threatened the crew plain and simple. Did the pilot need to divert? I wasn’t there and the news feed doesn’t have all the information. I do know that I would not want a passenger getting violent while airborne.

      When we travel we know our son’s needs and triggers. There are some places and things we do not do because we know that it will be hard to control him. That’s called planning. If he would be uncontrollable on an airplane, I would drive. I am responsible for my son and his needs. Not the crew of the airplane.

  • Teresa Lopea

    is there anyone that was on the flight that could complete the story? seems that there are many details missing. something else must have happened to warrant such drastic measures. an official statement from the airlines doesn’t give another side of the story.

  • Kendra

    An unfortunate situation that could have been avoided completely avoided. No doubt it is stressful to parent an autistic child and I can’t begin to put myself in her place however it seems that a different approach could have been taken by the mother in this situation. If I were the flight attendant I’d understand her statement, coming from someone with insight to her behavior, to mean that her daughter was a potential threat to those around her. A violent 15 year old can do some serious damage, especially in an enclosed space. Once the possiblity of threat was raised I feel the airline had no choice but to act in the best interest of the passengers.

  • Karen

    this mother needs to drive her kid to her destinations since she is so unpredictable. Her “meltdowns” are not the world’s responsibility. They offered food, it was not good enough. Case closed.

    • Jason Watson

      Yeah thats an option. You are unbelievable. So ignorant. If you have kids I hope they all come out autistic.

      • Marilyn

        Jason Watson, you are a idiot! Quit trolling! You are such a ignorant person to wish that anyone have a child who has a disability! Watch what you say, Karma can bite you in the butt!

      • wowixor

        No one is going to take you seriously with the way you are talking down to people in the comments on this story. Either have a civil conversation like a grownup, or be gone. #byefelicia

    • Moromillas Radec

      Exactly, and we also need to kick all the women off planes. Their “periods” are not the world’s responsibility. What the hell is wrong with you?

  • Debbie

    If you know your child might need more to eat or drink, then bring something with you. You also don’t know what else the child might do or how she is going to act. I think the airline did the right thing.

  • Christine

    For those of you ignorant enough to judge let me give you a few things to think about. Would you kick a toddler off the plane that didn’t like the food that was offered? Did you read the part where the mother went back and forth for 25 or more minutes trying to buy food from first class? This was not some irresponsible family neglecting their child & making it the worlds problems. I pray none of you ever has to live the life of an Autsim parent. Although I wouldn’t change my son for the world. Please educate yourselves on what Autism is!!!!!!

    • Debbie

      Teens with autism can become violent, as you must already know. A toddler having a tantrum can be controlled.

      • Moromillas Radec

        “can become violent’ No, this is absolute garbage, Autism doesn’t cause you to become violent. In my experience, it’s actually NTs that are more violent.

  • Manuel

    “I just kind of said, ‘You know what? Maybe after she has a meltdown and she’s crying and trying to scratch, then you’ll help us,’” Beegle told the station.

    According to KATU the flight attendant eventually complied, but then about 30 minutes later a member of the flight crew said the plane would be making an emergency landing because of a passenger behavior issue.


    You expected your daughter to have a “behavior issue’ and make a scene. She did. After being “helped,” you were removed from the plane for being disruptive.. Now you’re tying to make another scene. They gave your daughter something reserved for first-class passengers when you paid for an economy-class ticket. That’s not discrimination. Your family was removed for making the scene you anticipated. i.e.,””crying and trying to scratch.”

  • Jason Watson

    It is 2015 and so many of you are still so ignorant to the reality of the imperfect world we live in. You have guzzled the one size fits all sanitized world kool aid hook line and sinker. So many cold, judgemental POS people out there, it just reminds me why I don’t care for people much, but sure so love dogs. I hope you judgers give birth to an autistic, downs or otherwise imperfect child so you can learn some tolerance for your precious few minutes of inconvenience. Some of us have already sacrificed a majority of our lives EVERY SINGLE DAY to provide a decent quality of life for a loved one with severe disabilities. So we should also never ride inan airplane? Take a cab? Ride a bus? Just so someone isnt inconvenienced a bit once in a blue moon? You people are sick, and need professional help. But of course you will just convince your self centered selves that everyone else is the problem. How lucky you must be to have such perfect kids, and such a pain free life. Empathy has been an endangered species quality in humanity and apparently is still just as rare. Ill bet a lot of you wear crosses and preach Jesus too. Hypocritical to unlimited degrees. Wouldn’t surprise me one bit as I have seen it many times.

    • T Martin

      Any one that would wish a special needs child on someone else needs to get help. Why would you want another struggling child in the world? I have a special needs son and love him, but I would wish that on anyone else. That’s poor form.

    • Seraph

      Here’s a clue: you made the choice to have the child, and furthermore, to retain custody. Since you seem hellbent on declaring that a burden, it’s yours to bear.

    • zoomzoomdiva

      Jason, we realize the world is imperfect. However, what you need to realize is the world is not there to adapt to you and your wants just because you have an autistic child. It is this excessive attitude of entitlement that sets people off.

    • realityapologist

      Scratching people is not just an inconvenience. That’s dangerous. The airline reacted perfectly here: they gave the child the meal she needed to stay calm, but then landed to get the possible threat off the flight.

      Think about this from the pilot’s point of view: a flight attendant tells you that one of the passengers just told you that unless her daughter gets a hot meal, she might “have a meltdown” and “scratch people.” You’re not a mental health professional. You can’t even go talk to the passengers. What’s the right response?

      It seems pretty clear to me that the right response is to give the passenger what she wants, and then land the plane and get her off. You have no idea what other things might trigger a similar “meltdown” and put other passengers at risk. You have no idea how hard it might be to control such a meltdown once it started. The pilot’s responsibility is to make sure all the passengers arrive safely, and this situation could have compromised his or her ability to do that.

      This wasn’t a case of someone saying “your autistic kid just freaks me out, get off the plane.” The pilot had good reason to think that the child was volatile, unpredictable, and possibly dangerous–even the child’s mother admitted that if she didn’t get what she wanted, the child might hurt someone. All the staff acted appropriately.

      • Stephanie

        She didn’t say she would “scratch people” or “scratch other people”. Fact is, most autistics are self-harming. My daughter was. When she had meltdowns we crossed her arms and held her so she wouldn’t hurt herself. You are all acting as if the girl would have been set free to rampage up and down the plane aisles viciously attacking people. Her family was with her, her family who have long been well-trained to cope with meltdowns. There was nothing to fear for the other passengers. She would have been kept in her seat, seat-belted in, and held until she was calm again. The mother was trying to avoid a scene for the comfort of the other passengers and to avoid the possibility of her daughter harming herself. I know because I have been through this countless time in my home, in the home of friends, and in restaurants and other public places with my child. Furthermore, why can so few of you understand that these human beings are not spoiled but affected have, essentially, a form of brain damage? Peace of mind is absolutely everything in this life, and my heart breaks for those who so easily, so constantly lose that blessed state of grace.

  • Jason Watson

    By the way, this girl was autistic, NOT aspergers or some other “autism spectrum” disorder . This is part of the reason so many don’t get it. Aspergers and other minimally affecting conditions have put back “REAL” autusm understanding and acceptance 20 years. While I of course feel for anyone with a condition, aspergers and the like are nowhere near as debilitating and unpredictable as a mute autistic with full disability features. For those ignorant of autism, “heavy duty” autism involves mute affect, non verbal, low to no instruction comprehension, (can’t learn or comprehend language or instructions on basic tasks like making a bowl of cereal) basically is very similar to stereotypical mental retardation. No two autistics are the same, just as no two average range humans are the same. Some can eat many times a day and still randomly get upset if they don’t get food, and this can never be predicted 100%. Some randomly eat rocks or plastics (PICA) Some may randomly twirl in circles, or jump up and down, rock back and fourth etc. Some may do all of the above. Almost ZERO are ever physically violent to random strangers. Mass fear, overreaction or panic is far more dangerous on an airliner 30k feet in the air. The mother deserves no blame. She didn’t give up on her kid like most parents sadly do. She deserves respect and admiration. Most all of you wouldn’t care for a child like that for a week much less 15 years and on. Once again a mother who sacrificed her quality of life to raise a difficult child is villanized by ignorance instead of respected or praised for her courage and determination.

    • Zebra Stripes

      BS, it was mom’s big mouth that got her in trouble, and her lack of planning for her child’s comfort before she boarded the plane.

    • Cathy

      Thank you, Jason. As the mom of another profoundly autistic 15-year-old girl, I really appreciate your understanding and supportive words. It’s so rare that people actually get it. But people better wake up. 1 in 68 kids has autism now and that number is only going to keep increasing. It will be impossible to just sweep them aside like second class citizens.

    • Jess

      The mother didn’t provide for her child anticipating her daughter’s needs. A thermos filled with warm food purchased at the airport would have been common sense. I’m a teacher with autistic students in my classroom, and know their individual needs and tolerances and I am a mother of 2 children without special needs. When we fly, I over pack my carry on in anticipation of my children’s needs period. Shame on the mother.

  • Zebra Stripes

    The captain did the right thing. The mother declared that the child could have a medical issue during the flight, so he saw fit to bring her to the nearest airport to prevent such an occurrence. My hats off to him.

  • Wizard123

    It was the mothers fault for not being able to plan ahead. If she knew that her daughter might not like the food she would have brought something she would definately liked. Because one passenger doesn’t like the food should everyone be allowed to have another meal made?

  • Neil

    1. They should have bought in first class if they knew in advance that the daughter would need a hot meal.

    2. She DID threaten the crew with her daughter’s reaction.

    3. The media is giving way way to much air time to this arrogant, self-centered person.

    4. I hope the judge requires this family to pay court costs and legal fees for United as a result of a frivolous and baseless lawsuit.

    5. Grow up,you can’t get your own way all the time. Some people never, never grow up.

  • Jay

    Honestly, you’d think they could’ve found someone in first class who’d be willing to give up their meal for a little girl.

      • Stephanie

        It’s not about “being responsible for someone else’s child”. If I was in First Class and the flight attendant announced the issue and asked if anyone was interested in giving their meal to the child I would be the first one to offer mine. Not because it is my responsibility but simply because life is hard enough for all of us and if we can make someone else’s life a little easier by making such a small gesture then there is something deficient in us for not doing so. In the end, was it not far more an inconvenience to the First Class passengers to have to land the flight and then take off again? It would have been more proactive to simply request a hot meal donation if there were no extras available on board. At the end of the day, darling, “We’re all just walking each other home,” as the saying goes. Perhaps we are all responsible for each other on some level if peace is our goal.

  • Bill Wilson

    In these times where flying is often fret with danger and perceived danger, and perceived litigation potential, the captain of a plane has to prioritize rapidly based on the information he has at his disposal. He has to make safety of the whole flight first and then the weigh the situation of the rest of the situation. All while flying a machine where things can go wrong very fast. “Better to ask forgiveness than permission” is a saying that applies well here. Once he has the plane and all the passengers safely on the ground there is all the time in the world for pointing fingers and assigning blame, but at least everyone is safe, and the captain has fulfilled his duties. It does seem the mother was a little too quick off the draw with the threat if she did not get a hot meal there would be consequences. There was. The captain took her seriously as he must with all possible chances of danger. Everyone feels sorry for the teen, but that does not translate to being able to flaunt your child’s condition and defy the supreme authority of an air line captain. Also it seems the mother was very fast off the draw with the law suit. It would be repugnant to find out she is using her child as a meal ticket to cash in against United. If so, it begs the question: did she go in loaded for bear in the first place?

  • Ang

    hey I have worked with and have a special needs kid. If my kid needs hot food it is my responsibility to either pay for first class where they offer hot food, or bring an insulated bag, and buy something hot in the airport to feed her while on board. I would never insist or assume that will be the responsibility of the flight crew and airline to provide something that is my responsibility if it will keep her from freaking out and hurting someone. She was wrong telling them that it would be their fault if she basically freaks out and could hurt someone else and spread disease with her scratching if they don’t offer them hot food that is not part of the ticket the mother chose to pay for. The mother sounds very entitled IMO.

    • Jess

      You are absolutely correct. That mother was unprepared to handle her daughter’s needs. My children are not special needs, but I over pack my carry on in anticipation of what could happen. Shame on the mother!

  • Hila Shirazi

    Excuse me ?? From where that nerve? The pilot did not feel comfortable, an autistic child is removed from the plane, and why? Did she make damage to the plane? Should not remain silent on such a thing! Autistic children are not terrorists, they are pure angels without wings and we are here, to help them! My little brother asked me to take him to Orlando, we’ll see if the pilot will make an emergency landing because he feels uncomfortable because of my little brother and others children and people like him .. they are After all Angels!

  • Ron

    These poor me Parents are well aware of this condition and figured the airline would accommodate them because they have special needs, parents could have brought own food, I do for my kids without special needs, unless hot food is considered special needs. Thank god she didn’t want to fly the plane, and threaten to jump out if not granted pilot status. ” Then what?” Mom must of been granted a hot meal on outbound flight, that’s what made or mad.

  • Jake

    The pilot was absolutely right. The spoiled brat was going to misbehave if she did not get what she wants. So the pilot threw her off the plane, to prevent the other passengers from having a bad trip.

    Remember the world does not revolve around autistic or mrdd kids or people.

  • Jake

    If you paid about $400.00 for a plane ticket, you would expect the flight to go well with no disruptions. These other customers had the right to have a quiet safe flight, and did not have to listen to a spoiled brat go off because she didn’t get what she wants.

    The pilot did his job !!!

  • Jeremiah

    Headline should read: “Family Kicked Off Plane After Mother Threatens Violence to Get Her Way”

    This isn’t a case of discrimination against autism. Instead of preparing for the fact that her daughter wouldn’t eat room temperature food, this mother, Donna Beegle, threatened the flight attendant that if she was not given one of the meal reserved by a passenger who had paid for it in first class, her daughter would turn violent and start scratching. As a result, her demand for special treatment was met, meaning someone who had gone through the proper channels to get a meal – on a roughly nine hour flight – had to go without.

    According to the Beegle’s own Facebook post (, for nearly an hour the flight attendance tried to accommodate her by offering a variety of food options from chips to a chicken sandwich, but could not give her one of the first class passengers’ meals. In time, Beegle tried to get special treatment by saying she was “platinum on United” but when that still didn’t work, she threatened that her daughter would have a “melt down” and start scratching. To avoid an unsafe situation, first the crew gave her one of the hot meals and then grounded the plane to remove the family.

    The crew did not just assume the daughter would be a problem because she had autism. The mother told them that she would be. Trying to say afterwards that her daughter didn’t do anything wrong does not negate the threat that the mother issued or in any way guarantee that a similar situation might not arise in the remaining hours they’d be in the air. The fact is, the daughter didn’t do anything wrong, the mother did, and the entire family was punished accordingly.

  • Jess

    People need to be educated about autism . . . Calling these children “spoiled brats” is just straight up ignorance, shame on you! Shame on the mother for being unprepared to meet the needs of her child . . . A thermos with something hot to eat would have prevented any problems. Bring the empty thermos, purchase food once you get through security and near restaurants at the gates. I’ve done this for my own children who do not have special needs SEVERAL times without any issues. I also have friends who just returned from Disney as well, have similar problems with their son, but were well prepared in anticipation for anything. The mother was in the wrong and unprepared to meet the child’s needs.

Comments are closed.