Family Get Booted From Disneyland-Bound Flight Over Lice Allegations

Ivan Pentchoukov
By Ivan Pentchoukov
January 2, 2018US News
Family Get Booted From Disneyland-Bound Flight Over Lice Allegations
File Photo. Southwest Airlines customer service agent Tricia Arrigo assists travelers at the Southwest Airlines ticket counter at Midway Airport March 26, 2004 in Chicago. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

A Chicago family was booted from a flight to Disneyland before New Year’s Eve because Southwest Airlines staff believed that one of their daughters had lice.

The Newman family was waiting to board a flight from Chicago to Santa Ana, California, on Friday when they were informed that they would not be allowed on the flight because one of their children had lice.

J. Newman’s wife saw some white flakes in her 6-year-old daughter’s hair as the family awaited their flight, according to NBC 5.

“There was some dry skin in my daughter’s hair,”J. Newman told NBC 5. “So, she was just kind of taking it out of my daughter’s hair.”

NTD Photo
Passengers wait to check in at the ticket counter of Southwest Airlines at Midway Airport April 21, 2003, in Chicago, Ill. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

About 30 minutes later a gate agent approached J. Newman, his wife, and their two daughters, NBC reported.

It appears that fellow travelers who saw the mom picking out dry skin from her daughter’s hair misinterpreted it to mean that the little girl had lice and complained to the ticket clerks.

“That they saw my wife going through my daughter’s hair and that she might have lice,” Newman told NBC 5. “And we looked at each other like are you serious right now or is this a joke?”

But Southwest Airlines wasn’t kidding.

NTD Photo
A Southwest Airlines customer service agent checks in passengers July 21, 2003, at the ticket counter of Midway Airport in Chicago, Ill. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The airline told NBC that its employees were approached by several customers “with concerns about a fellow passenger in the gate area exhibiting behavior consistent with a highly contagious medical condition. We never want to inconvenience customers but when we receive concerns from multiple people, we’re obligated to look into them.”

The fellow traveler’s concern was enough to boot Newmans from their flight, even though the presence of lice was never verified.

“We don’t even have lice. That’s the crazy thing. Our daughter doesn’t have lice,” J. Newman said. “So, why they would do this to us I have no idea.”

Newman thinks that his family may have been barred from the flight because it was overbooked. The flight was already five hours late when the incident occurred. Southwest said that the flight was not overbooked.

NTD Photo
Southwest Airlines passenger planes are seen at Chicago’s Midway Airport in Illinois, on May 31, 2012. (Karen Bleier/AFP/GettyImages)

“My daughter is hysterical because she thinks this is her fault that she’s not going to Disneyland,” Newman said.

Following the odd exchange, the family was told that the next time they could get on a plane would be in two days.

The family never received an apology and was never compensated for their expenses.

The airline said that it regrets any inconvenience and is working to resolve the issue directly with the family.

Recommended Video: Mom’s Hilarious Reaction to Raptor Scare


ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.