California Teen With Down Syndrome Not Allowed to Fly
Related Videos
Most Recent
Most Viewed


American Airlines refused to let a California family from boarding their flight. The airline thought their 16-year-old son was a flight risk.


(Image Source: KABC ) BY NICHOLE CARTMELL ANCHORED BY MEGAN MURPHY A California family wasn’t allowed to board their flight on Tuesday. And now the family is claiming they were discriminated against because their son has Down Syndrome. “Robert and Joan Vanderhorst say they were not allowed to board Sunday's American Airlines flight with their son. This is cellphone video of the 16-year- old sitting quietly by the gate. A company spokesman says the boy "was not ready to fly" because he was agitated and running around the gated area prior to boarding.” KABC reports the family was flying on American Airlines from New Jersey to California with their son when they were told they wouldn't be able to board the flight. And this isn’t the first time the family has flown... the only difference was they had upgraded to first class this time. Bede’s father Robert Vanderhorst says... "I think the pilot was concerned that my son was going to be in first class, and I think the pilot felt that my type of son, my disabled Down syndrome son, shouldn't be in first class.” But for a Daily Buzz anchor this story hits a little too close to home. He says his brother has angelman syndrome which is very similar to down syndrome, and it isn’t fair to the 16-year-old or others with handicaps. “They're making a generalization... What if it was Chris Burke? Remember Chris Burke? Probably not? Chris Burke was Corky ... What if the celebrity, Corky, is sitting there who has down syndrome are they going to make Corky go sit in the back? No they aren’t.  They made a generalization and it's ridiculous.” The Vanderhorsts eventually were able to book a flight with United Airlines to get home. But the family plans to sue American Airlines for its disrespect.