Spirit Airlines has sparked outrage after it kicked a mom & her family off one of its planes. The mother claims all she did was breastfeed her young son! Get the details.
A Houston pianist and cancer researcher has spoken out after she feels she was mistreated on a Spirit Airlines flight. Mei Rui, 34, was trying to fly from Houston to Manhattan on Dec. 8 along with her elderly parents and two-year-old son, Lukas, when she and her family were forced off the plane, CBS affiliate KHOU reports. Mei says she complied with everything that was asked of her — including stopping her son from breastfeeding — yet, she was still booted from the aircraft! Upon boarding the flight, Mei and the other passengers were forced to sit on the tarmac for almost three hours due to a “de-icing delay.” After sitting there for all that time, Mei began to breastfeed her “exhausted” son.
Shortly afterwards however, a flight attendant told her to stop and to put him in his seat, as the flight crew claimed they were ready to take off. However, Mei claims the airplane door was still open. Because of this, she asked for a few more minutes to prevent her son from waking up, but then ended up complying, “forcing” Lukas into his own seat where he began to cry for 25 minutes. It wasn’t long before a flight attendant asked them to get off. When the family-of-four refused, Spirit made the entire plane disembark then re-board. And if that’s not bad enough, the staff can be seen laughing and refusing to tell Mei exactly what she had done wrong in videos taken at the gate. All the staff would tell the mother is that she and her family did “not comply with instructions.”
Spirit even called police to escort the family away from the gate. Fellow passengers who saw the incident unfold said they were “disgusted” by how the airline treated the family. “It’s not like I was resistant, I put him in the seat,” Mei told The Washington Post. “If they had shown a little compassion, it wouldn’t have happened, they didn’t have to let it escalate.” After she got off the plane, Mei recorded what happened next on her phone. In the cell footage, the mom can be seen asking a Spirit rep, “I just want to know why we were kicked off the plane?”
“Because you were not compliant,’” he told her. Mei responded, “Could you tell me which part of the instruction we were not compliant with? I think we deserve to know that.” However, the employee refused to give more details. The ordeal also took a major toll on her parents, Chinese natives who had been traumatized by their country’s Cultural Revolution, Mei said. As a result, Mei’s father — who she said has an aortic aneurysm and several hypertension — was rushed to a hospital after collapsing. “I had never imagined something like this could happen to our family. I am heartbroken that I could not protect my old parents and Lukas from this cruelty!” Mei wrote on Facebook.
Spirit has since defended its decision to kick Mei and her family off their airplane. “To be clear, no one was removed for breastfeeding,” Spirit’s Director of Communications, Stephen Schuler, told HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY in a statement. “The passenger failed to comply with crew instructions by not being safely buckled and secured for takeoff after being asked repeatedly to do so. As for the door, the reports from the crew indicate the door was closed at the time of the incident.”
Spirit’s statement continued, “We were forced to remove a passenger from flight 712 after they refused to comply with crew instructions several times while the doors were closed during taxi and safety briefing. To ensure the safety of our guests and crew, FAA regulations and airline policies require all passengers stay seated and buckled during takeoff and landing. We reviewed multiple accounts from the crew and other guests sitting nearby and we apologize for any inconvenience caused by this issue. As a courtesy, we’ve issued a full refund to the customer in question.”
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — what do you think of this incident? Have YOU ever had issues with Spirit Airlines?