Colorado Springs mother says family kicked off flight after 3-year-old wouldn’t wear mask

A Colorado Springs mother is warning all parents to practice putting masks on their young kids before getting on a plane.
Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 4:11 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - It’s a worst-case scenario. Being kicked off a flight and stranded at an airport without your luggage. Throw in two small children, and it becomes any parent’s worst nightmare.

A Colorado Springs mother is sharing her experience with KKTV 11 News as a caution to other parents. She wants to make sure all families with young kids practice putting masks on before getting on a plane.

Jayden Whicker said her family was kicked off a Frontier flight in April because her 3-year-old son wouldn’t wear a mask.

According to the CDC, anyone 2 and older needs to wear a mask while on public transportation, including in airports and on planes.

“We need to let parents know this might happen.”

Whicker said she, her husband and their two young children were excited to spend a week in Orlando, Fla.

“We go every year,” Whicker said. “Since our little guy was smaller, and we just, you know, we go to Cocoa Beach, and we did Universal, and so this time we were just kind of doing the same thing.”

Whicker said she and her husband booked an early morning flight in hopes that their two young children would sleep on the plane.

While walking through Denver International Airport, Whicker said no one asked her 3-year-old son to wear a mask, even though there were signs throughout the airport saying everyone 2 and up had to have one on.

According to DIA’s website, “federal law now requires anyone over the age of 2 to wear a mask at all times in and on airport property. Failure to comply may result in removal from airport property and denial of re-entry.”

Whicker said her family was even able to board their Frontier flight and sit on the plane for a while without any problems. But then, a flight attendant approached them right before takeoff.

“It was like 1:30, 1:45 in the morning, and one of the flight attendants came up to us and basically said, ‘He needs to put a mask on right now or you need to get off the flight,’” Whicker said. “So we were just kind of shocked because we haven’t had anybody talk to us previously.”

Whicker said she and her husband tried to put a mask on their son but were only given a few minutes to comply. They were then asked to get off the flight, along with another family that had a young child who wouldn’t wear a mask.

“After we got off, we asked if we could have our car seats because we were in Denver and we lived here in Colorado Springs, and she refused,” Whicker said. “She said that they are already on the way to Florida.”

While waiting for baggage claim to open so the family could get an extra car seat and drive home, Whicker said she took the below picture and later posted it on social media.

A Colorado Springs mother said her family was kicked off a flight after her 3-year-old son...
A Colorado Springs mother said her family was kicked off a flight after her 3-year-old son wouldn't wear a mask.(Jayden Whicker)

When asked for comment, Frontier Airlines released the following statement to 11 News, “Federal law requires that passengers two years and older wear a face mask throughout their travel journey and Frontier Airlines enforces all federal regulations. There is a face mask exemption for those with certain qualifying medical reasons and proper documentation must be submitted ten days before departure as stated on Frontier’s website. Service is at the core of Frontier’s mission and we continually work with our customers to offer a comfortable flying experience, within the law and our own policies.”

Looking back, Whicker said she takes responsibility for not reading all the airline guidelines regarding masks.

“I think we would have practiced more with him because, as of now, I mean, his daily activities like preschool and all that stuff, he’s not required to wear a mask, so we don’t make him.”

Now, Whicker wants to share her story with parents everywhere, so no one else has to experience what her family went through.

“Try to practice with your kids beforehand and see if it, you know, can help, and hopefully you can make it to your vacation,” she said.

Whicker said Frontier did refund her family’s tickets to and from Orlando, and she was able to get her car seat, stroller and luggage back a few days later.

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