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Michael Medved

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Alaska Air flight attendant rips Down syndrome ‘discrimination’ controversy

Last week, Alaska Airlines ended up with some bad PR after a photo surfaced of a Seattle-bound passenger with Down syndrome after he and his family were forced to deplane after the teen vomited while onboard.

The teen’s sister claims “disability discrimination.” But one Alaska Airlines flight attendant isn’t having any of it.

“These sue-happy people have no common sense or boundaries,” the flight attendant explained, speaking on condition of anonymity and not on behalf of the airline.

The incident happened April 2. The family was traveling from St. Louis back to Sea-Tac Airport. Once on board, the teen became visibly ill and ended up vomiting. This is not in dispute. The teen’s sister, Meaghan Hess, a third-year law student, admits as much.

But in a written statement per NBC News, she takes issue with being forced to leave the flight:

The airline left them “stranded at the airport for nearly eleven hours knowing that my family had nowhere to go for the night,” Hess wrote. “Instead, all they did was hand my parents a black garbage bag, saying that my brother could just throw up in that.”

When the family was booked on another flight the next day, they were all upgraded to First Class. That wasn’t good enough for Hess.

“I can’t help but think if a non-disabled child that threw up, would the airline have kicked that family off the flight,” she said.

She speaks like she’s planning a lawsuit and something tells me that if she was on a flight with someone vomiting in the aisle, she’d not be a happy passenger.

Perhaps this is me simply sticking up for my hometown airline or I’m just sick and tired of people screaming discrimination at a perceived slight. But Hess’ claims are absolutely absurd and she should be ashamed of herself. The practice of removing sick passengers from a flight is common practice.

“Medlink is the medical advice hotline we are required to call anytime somebody shows visible signs of being sick,” the flight attendant told me. “They always advise that a passenger not fly if they have vomited within the last two hours.”

And while this flight attendant wasn’t personally working this route, he explains: “… in my personal experience, passengers who are sick on the ground, don’t tend to get better in the air. They get worse.”

Indeed, an official spokesperson for Alaska Airlines told NBC News: “In the case of a medical-related situation, it is safer for guests to be treated on the ground, as our crew are not trained, medical professionals.”

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This, of course, makes total sense, even if Hess wants to pretend her brother is being mistreated.

After the story was published, Hess turned to Twitter to explain her issue was with how she was treated once removed from the flight, though that conflicts with her statements in the NBC piece.

Perhaps she has a rightful chip on her shoulder. However, her sanctimony is a bit too much to handle. No one wants to see her brother discriminated against. But I’ll wait to get outraged if he actually is a victim of discrimination.

The way Hess, a staffer with the US 9th Circuit of Appeals, presented her complaint seems pretty exploitative. She’s the one who posted the photo of her brother with the garbage bag. And yes, he looked visibly ill, like he’d be puking all the way back to Seattle.

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