Soldier's wife, son removed from plane

November 19, 2008 4:18:32 AM PST
A soldier's wife says she was kicked off a flight because her toddler was behaving like a toddler.The incident happened Monday when Monalisa Veliz was rushing to catch a flight to Tucson, Arizona to see her husband, Staff Sergeant Bayron Veliz, before he is deployed.

Veliz calls her experience nightmarish. She says the Fayetteville Regional Airport was hectic and things were delayed. She says as she was boarding a Delta flight --and struggling with a car seat, stroller and suitcase-- her 2-year-old son Donovan started to throw a tantrum.

Veliz says the flight attendant stood by and watched her struggle. Then, she and her son were kicked off the plane and missed the flight.

"Now they think it's the easiest thing in the world to handle a 2-year-old and a car seat and a stroller and a bag on your own when your husband's away. It's not easy," Veliz said. "And I just wanted some help from them. Some understanding, he's a little boy. He was crying."

But Veliz says the airline went too far when they kicked them both off the plane.

"I said please don't do this," Veliz said. "I wanted to go to Arizona with my family and his father, because he's missed his dad a lot and my husband's leaving in January."

Her luggage with her son's inhaler in it, went to Arizona and she spent hours at the airport trying to get them back.

"I was humiliated and I felt bad that they had a problem with my son," Veliz said while crying.

Atlantic Southeast Airlines is the Delta connection at Fayetteville Regional Airport.

The airline tells Eyewitness News they understand traveling can be challenging, but the safety of all passengers is their number one priority. They say it's rare to remove someone from a flight, but in this case they had to after more than 10 minutes of trying to help calm the child down.

ASA also says they quickly booked her on another carrier, but Veliz declined the offer.

However, when the United Service Organizations out of Raleigh-Durham International Airport found out about the incident, they arranged for Veliz and her son to fly out Wednesday.

The USO plans to pay for a meal for the mother and son, and help them board. USO wants to make sure this never happens to a soldier's family again.


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