Girl With Down Syndrome Barred From a British Airways Flight

Posted Jun 16th 2011 08:45 AMUpdated Jun 16th 2011 12:23 PM

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A 12-year-old British girl was denied passage on a British Airways flight for having Down syndrome, supposedly per airline policy.

Airline staff refused to sell a plane ticket to Alice Saunders for an unaccompanied trip from London's Gatwick Airport to Glasgow. Her mother, Heather Saunders, was told it was company policy to not accept young passengers with Down syndrome flying alone.

Heather Saunders tried to make her daughter's reservation via phone.

"I explained I wanted her to travel as an unaccompanied minor, she was 12 years old, she had Down syndrome and was very independent," she told the Daily Mail.

However, according to the mother, the customer service agent said company policy would not allow it because of problems incurred in the past.

Heather Saunders further revealed that, according to the representative, had she not told the airline about Alice at the time of booking, she would have been turned away at the gate.

According to a British Airways spokesperson, it is not against company policy allow those with Down syndrome to fly alone. "We will carry any child over five years old as an unaccompanied minor provided they can go to the toilet unassisted, feed themselves, and behave in a socially acceptable manner," she told the Daily Mail.

This includes Down syndrome passengers.

The spokesperson added that the airline "apologizes unreservedly" to the Saunders and has offered them two return tickets.

Filed Under: Air Travel, News

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