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American Airlines Refuses to Seat 16-Year-Old Bede Vanderhorst Because he has Down's Syndrome
Joan and Robert Vanderhorst are considering filing a lawsuit against American Airlines because their 16-year-old son Bede, who has Down's Syndrome, was not seated in the first class section of an aircraft, after they got an upgrade (video below).
The Vanderhorsts told KTLA-TV that the American Airlines staff said they would not allow them to take their seats because their son was "excitable, running around, and not acclimated to the environment."
The airline also claimed that the pilot had tried to calm Bede down while in the waiting area.
However, Joan Vanderhorst filmed Bede as he waited quietly in the departure area to board their flight from Newark, New Jersey to Los Angeles, California.
American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller told KTLA-TV: "For the safety of the young man and the safety of others, American Airlines offered to book another flight for the family."
The Vanderhorsts say Bede hadn't caused any trouble and that American Airlines violated their son's civil rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Vanderhorsts eventually made it back to their home in Bakersfield, California, but traveled in the economy section and were not refunded for their first class upgrade.