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The mother of an autistic boy has spoken out after her four-year-old son was kicked off a Spirit Airlines flight because he wasn't wearing a mask.
Callie Kimball and her family had flown to Las Vegas without any issues until it came to boarding their return flight, which had a stopover in Dallas.
There, the family were told their son Carter had to wear a mask - despite Callie's husband showing crew members a medical note.
Carter, who is non-verbal with autism, is 'obsessed' with planes and Callie claims he was sitting quietly when they were told he wouldn't be able to fly.
Speaking to CBS' KTVH-TV, Callie said that Carter 'had a medical note from his physician stating that he's exempt from wearing masks because whenever he wears a mask he holds his breath or he starts freaking out and he will harm himself.'
She continued: "He has a disability.
"It's protected under the American Disability Act and they go, 'No no no. Autism's not a disability. He has to wear a mask or he has to get off the plane.'
"Kids on the [autism] spectrum, they're usually very obsessed with something. He is obsessed with airplanes.
"So he was sitting in his seat, quietly and looking out the window, and this lady was like, 'Get off!'"
She then told the news outlet: "I've never in my life - being the parent of an autistic kid is really hard and I've never in my life experienced that kind of discrimination from someone."
Callie explained how American Airlines agreed to accommodate them on a flight and accepted Carter's note, but the family still want a refund for the tickets.
According to CBS, Spirit did issue a refund but suggested there was an issue owing to the time it takes for credit card issuers to credit funds.
Spirit also told the publication: "Our existing policy does not provide for medical exemptions, regardless of diagnosis.
"Our team members explained this to a family traveling today, but never questioned anyone's medical status in the process.
"Starting March 19, 2021, guests with a medical disability who are traveling on or after March 22, 2021 can apply for an exemption as provided for in the federal mandate requiring masks in airports and on planes."
A spokesperson also said that the only exemption to the mask policy is for children younger than two, before adding: "We remind guests of our face covering policy throughout the booking process, in a pre-trip email sent prior to departure, and in a required acknowledgement that is part of the check-in procedure."
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