May 11, 2015 12:21 pm
Updated: May 11, 2015 7:13 pm

Pilot makes emergency landing to kick autistic girl off plane


WATCH: A mother is furious over the way United Airlines treated her family. When her daughter, who has autism, became agitated the pilot decided to make an emergency landing, call the police and kick the family off the flight. Mike Armstrong has the story.

TORONTO – An Oregon mom is outraged and intends to sue after a United Airlines pilot made an emergency landing last week to have her autistic daughter kicked off a plane.

Story continues below
Global News

Tigard native Dr. Donna Beegle, an anti-poverty advocate and author, and her family were on their way home Tuesday from Walt Disney World when her 15-year-old daughter, Juliette, became agitated.

READ MORE: Woman says she was kicked off plane because of her cancer

Beegle recognized it as a sign of hunger and asked airline staff if she could purchase a hot meal from first class – claiming her daughter was a picky eater and that she may act out if she didn’t calm down.

WATCH: Parents of a 15-year-old autistic girl say they plan to sue United Airlines for discrimination. Amy Frazier contacted United to get answers.

Juliette was happily watching a movie on a full stomach when the family’s trip quickly went sour.

“We have a passenger on board with a behaviour issue,” Beegle claims to have heard over the aircraft’s public address system.

After an emergency landing in Salt Lake City, officers appeared and removed Juliette, her mother, father and brother from the plane. United eventually rerouted the Beegles to Portland on a Delta flight, according to KOIN.

“As a mom it ripped my heart out,” Donna told NBC. “I was shaking.”

“The captain never came back and said, ‘Is everything okay?’ or never met her,” she added as tears streamed down her cheeks. “He landed a plane.”

Beegle couldn’t believe what had just happened. So while leaving the plane, she asked authorities to take statements from passengers to confirm whether or not her daughter had been a problem for others.

“You have a lot of people on your side saying this was not an issue,” Beegle claims one officer told her.

At least one passenger has come forward saying Juliette had been ‘howling’ prior to being removed. But another passenger rejects that claim.

WATCH: Two passengers on the same flight as the family who was kicked off the plane for their autistic daughter have very different opinions of what happened. Jennifer Dowling reports.

“The child would make noise every now and then, no louder than, say, a baby crying,” Chris Hall told KOIN 6 News. “I don’t think they should have landed a plane for her being fussy.”

United Airlines, meanwhile, maintains that the crew made the correct call.

“After working to accommodate Dr. Beegle and her daughter during the flight, the crew made the best decision for the safety and comfort of all of our customers and elected to divert to Salt Lake City after the situation became disruptive,” spokeswoman Jennifer Dohm said in a statement.

© 2015 Shaw Media

Report an error


Global News