Teen With Cerebral Palsy and Autism Kicked off Flight
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
David Bysooa, 16, from the London suburb of Surbiton has flown to the island of Mauritius to visit his grandparents more than a dozen times by himself — quite an achievement for someone living with cerebral palsy, mild autism and learning disabilities. But after being unsettled by a change in seating, he was kicked off an Air Mauritius flight out of Heathrow, the Evening Standard reported. Now his mother is accusing the airline of discrimination.
Mom Vidulah Bysooa, 47, made sure to book a window seat for David, like all the previous flights, as this makes him feel more relaxed, she told the Evening Standard.
Boarding the full flight, he was given an aisle seat, and kept leaning over the woman seated next to him while the aircraft was still on the runway, the Evening Standard said. The passenger complained, but the crew could not find an alternate seat.
David became upset and was kicked off the plane per the captain’s request and escorted back to his parents in the terminal.
Vidulah Bysooa, who works in the reservations department of Kenyan Airlines at Heathrow, told the Evening Standard, “The way my son was treated was appalling.
"This is someone who frequently flies with the airline and is well known. They should have understood why he needed to have a window seat.
“He is more than capable of flying on his own but the way he was discriminated against is disgraceful.”
The Evening Standard revealed she has contacted the Civil Aviation Authority regarding the incident. The publication also pointed out that David did not get a refund from Air Mauritius.
Tom Quilter, a support worker at London-based Achieving for Children, who is advocating for the Bysooas, told the Evening Standard that he received an email response from the airline regarding the incident. It said specific seats could not be guaranteed on the aircraft and David leaning over the “nervous flier” in the window seat made for “a very uncomfortable atmosphere,” adding, “I can assure you that the decision was not taken lightly.”
More by Michael Isenbek
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions
Airlines & Airports