American Airlines Bans Disabled Boy From Traveling For Medical Appointment Over Mix Of Tests

American Airlines has blocked a disabled four-year-old boy from attending an important medical appointment due to a COVID-19 test error. Michael Seklecki Jnr is due at Boston Children’s Hospital for his appointment on Wednesday, but his family’s hopes of flying with AA from their home in Florida were dashed at the last minute.

The Sekleckis have fought a court battle with American Airlines because they believe Michael Jnr should be granted a face mask exemption due to his disabilities, including autism.

Last week, a federal judge sided with the family and ordered AA to grant Michael Jnr a temporary face mask exemption for the next 30 days while the trial unfolds in US District Court. . It is believed to be the biggest victory yet for activists who have opposed the federal mandate for face masks on planes.

American’s chief legal officer, Peter Soares, wrote to the family last week to confirm that Michael Jnr would be allowed to fly bare-faced on a domestic flight Tuesday from Miami to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

Soares, however, warned the family that the airline was granting the exemption provided a negative COVID-19 test was obtained within 72 hours of travel.

The letter stated: “The test result must be provided to American Airlines upon check-in for the MIA-DCA leg of the flight.”

The testing requirement was either a PCR test or a rapid antigen test, so the Sekleckis decided to use a free home antigen test provided by the federal government under the Biden administration’s program to improve access to testing.

Self-administered home test kits, however, do not come with a certificate that the test was negative. AA’s website explains that passengers with a face mask exemption must provide “documentation confirming a negative COVID test or recovery.”

Southwest Airlines also granted Michael Jnr a 30-day medical exemption, but did not add a requirement for a negative COVID-19 test.

Michael Snr believes the testing requirement is illegal and has filed a motion to find AA in contempt of court.

The current face mask mandate is due to expire on March 18, but flight attendant unions have asked for a further extension. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), which represents AA crew members, believes the mandate helps protect young passengers who still do not have access to a vaccine.

And the union that represents crew at United Airlines also backs that argument and says the mandate boosts public confidence in safe air travel amid the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave no indication as to whether the warrant could be extended.

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Mateusz Maszczynski


Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the Middle East’s most important airline and flew throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centered stories. Always on the cutting edge, Matt’s knowledge, analysis and news coverage are often used by some of the biggest names in journalism.