Family Asked To Leave Plane After Autistic Daughter’s Meltdown

Family Asked To Leave Plane After Autistic Daughter’s Meltdown
United Airlines Boeing 737-300; N384UA@LAX;31.07.1995 Aero Icarus / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

On Tuesday, Donna Beegle, her husband and her children were asked to leave United Airlines Flight 1535 from Houston to Portland after the pilot said he was not comfortable with their daughter, Juliette Forbes, on the plane.


Juliette has been diagnosed with autism at the age of three.

The family were returning to Portland after their trip to Disney World in Orlando.

Beegle told KOIN 6 News, “[Juliette] started getting a little upset and I started thinking, ‘You know what? She didn’t eat her dinner.’

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“I know her, when she gets overhungry or overthirsty, she really struggles because she can’t tell us and she gets really frustrated.”

Beegle emphasized how it becomes a cause of concern when Juliette does not eat.

When she asked the crew if her daughter could have something to eat, the flight attendant said only first class passengers are served hot food. Beegle then told the flight attendant that her daughter would have a meltdown.

Chuck Forbes, Juliette’s father, said, “She lashes out and scratches.”

The flight attendant brought the food.

“The next thing we hear is we’re doing an emergency landing in Salt Lake City,” said Beegle. “We have a passenger on board with a behavior issue.”

After the emergency landing, the police arrived at their seats and asked the family to leave because the pilot was not comfortable flying with Juliette on the plane. Beegle stood up and asked the rest of the passengers if they had a problem flying with her daughter.

“The people were, like, ‘No, leave her alone,’” Beegle said.

It was sad and humiliating, Beegle added.

She said, “As a mom it ripped my heart out.

“I was shaking.”

In its defense of making the emergency landing, United Airlines spokesperson Karen May said, “After working to accommodate Dr. Beegle and her daughter during the flight, the crew 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.”

A complaint was filed with the FAA. Beegle told Fox 12 that she was filing a lawsuit against the airlines.

She said, “I don’t want anyone else to experience that, no one.

“My heart feels heavy from that, I’m still reeling from the emotion of how my daughter was treated.”

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