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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.