Father blasts United over ‘condescending’ treatment towards special needs child

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A father has taken to social media to rant about what he described as “rude” and “condescending” treatment received by his three-year old special needs child on a United Airlines flight.

Uttiya Basu tweeted about his experience, sharing that he was flying with his wife and child on flight UA 83 from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). All of them were booked onto United’s Polaris business class seats.

Basu said that four weeks prior to the flight, he had already informed United that he was traveling with his child, yet the airline forgot about the child meal. 

The child slept for the first nine hours of the flight, Basu said. Upon him waking, Basu’s wife prepared a meal for their son out of her own meal tray.

While waiting for his meal, Basu said that his son began to cry due to the unfamiliar environment, so Basu himself carried the child, pacing up and down the aisle to calm him. 

Basu said that his son duly calmed down, ate his meal, and proceeded to play with his toys and the In-flight entertainment (IFE) screen. Upon finding his favorite shows on the IFE, the child started to squeal with delight.

It was at this point that a United flight attendant, Basu said, came over and told his wife, “Ma’am, your child simply cannot be making any noise. This is rest time, Everyone is sleeping. You are doing nothing to keep him quiet. You need to keep him silent.”

Despite his wife’s explanations, Basu said that the flight attendant told them, “”I have two children and I know how to be a mother to them. You need to do something.”

Basu said that the flight attendant “forced” them to walk their son along the aircraft aisle, which triggered further loud, unhappy reactions from the child. 

“Finally, my advice to anyone planning to take United flights, if you have small kids, especially if they have special needs, please look for alternate airlines. United does not tolerate kids laughing or squealing!” Basu further tweeted.

Basu later added that United had replied to his tweets, offering him a $100 travel voucher, which did not appease him.

Basu said that his family have yet to receive an apology either from the flight attendant or the airline, and that he had sent a formal letter to United’s head of customer service as well as the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

United has yet to release a statement regarding the incident. 

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