Mother of autistic girl says United unfairly kicked family off flight

A woman said she has filed complaints against United Airlines for kicking her family off a flight to Portland, Ore., saying the flight crew improperly judged her autistic daughter to be disruptive.

Donna Beegle told ABC News that her family was flying home last week when she tried to get hot food for her 15-year-old autistic daughter Juliette.

Beegle said that Juliette can get “frustrated and antsy” if her blood sugar drops and that she won’t eat food at room temperature.

Beegle said she ran into resistance from a flight attendant to get the hot food.

But after Beegle said she had a “child with special needs” who could “have a meltdown” if she didn’t get the hot food, a flight attendant brought Juliette some, according to Beegle.


Juliette was fine after eating and started watching a movie, Beegle said, but the plane was diverted to Salt Lake City for what an announcement described as a passenger with “a behavior issue.”

They were then escorted off the plane.

In a Facebook post, Beegle said fellow passengers agreed Juliette was not disruptive. She attributed the decision to boot their family from the plane a “sheer case of ignorance.”

United Airlines said in a statement provided to ABC News that it worked to “accommodate Dr. Beegle and her daughter during the flight.” But the crew then “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. We rebooked the customers on a different carrier and the flight continued to Portland.”

Beegle told ABC News that she has filed complaints with the Federal Aviation Administration and planned to sue United Airlines.

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