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Local couple at odds with JetBlue after being kicked off flight

Updated: Friday, July 12 2013, 06:56 PM CDT
Reported by Jesse Knutson

Carlisle -- A local autistic girl and her family’s trip home from a vacation turned into a nightmare after they were kicked off of a Jet Blue flight.

Emily Galindo, her husband, and their 13-year-old daughter who has autism were set to fly from Nantucket to Boston, a 20 minute flight, and requested to get seats together before they boarded the plane.

“I said we have a little girl with autism,” explained Emily Galindo, “We need to be together. She said I can put two of you together.”

Emily and her daughter, Mia, were put in the back of the plane, while Mia’s father was put about 10 rows in front of them.

At that time, Emily said that Mia was unable to see her father. “To her, he had gone off the plane.” Mia began to cry and refused to put on her seatbelt during the taxi, at which point a flight attendant alerted the pilot of the problem.

“She can’t talk, she uses and iPad and a little bit of sign language, so she couldn’t say anything.” Said Emily, adding that it made Mia more frustrated, and made the situation much worse.

The pilot ended up walking to the back of the plane where he told the family that Mia needed to put on her seatbelt.

“At this point now, she like in total meltdown.” Remembered Emily.

The family was not able to get Mia under control, so the pilot and the flight attendant told the family that they would have to get off the plane. According to Emily, the pilot said that Mia was “a potential danger to other passengers.”

The plane had to taxi back to the gate to let Mia and her parents off the plane back into the airport.

“We were left to fend for ourselves in Nantucket.” Said Emily.

The family ended up taking a taxi to the ferry from Nantucket to the Massachusetts shore. They then took a taxi to the bus terminal before taking a bus to Boston. By that time, it was 11 P.M., so they got a hotel in Boston.

The next morning, the family rented a car to get them back to Baltimore where they left their car.

“People would think, well, why don’t you fly from Boston to Baltimore? There’s no way I was getting back on another plane.” Said Emily.

The family made it home after spending 2 days and nearly $2,000 that they didn’t plan to spend before their trip.

Emily says she’s appalled by how the situation was handled. The family did receive a travel voucher for future trips through Jet Blue after Emily’s sister called Jet Blue, but they say they want a full refund and not a travel voucher, because they do not want to fly with Jet Blue again. The representatives for Jet Blue did apologize for the matter.

Emily has written a letter to the President and CEO of Jet Blue and is hoping to get the family’s money back, as well as an apology on behalf of the crew her family had to deal with. She’s also hoping this will be a wake-up call for the company.

“I would really love to see them doing some kind of teaching on understanding and compassion on how you deal with families with special needs children.” She said. “They’re probably going to say they already do that, but I think they need to do more.”

CBS 21’s Jesse Knutson reached out to Jet Blue, and the Corporate Communications Media Contact said that she would review the situation and how Jet Blue deals with situations like this. We’ll bring you all the new information as we receive it.
Local couple at odds with JetBlue after being kicked off flight


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