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Disneyland-bound family kicked off Southwest flight after unconfirmed lice accusation

Southwest Airlines kicked a Chicago family headed for Disneyland off a flight because people accused a girl of having lice, the family says.
Southwest Airlines kicked a Chicago family headed for Disneyland off a flight because people accused a girl of having lice, the family says. AP file photo

Southwest Airlines kicked a Chicago family headed for Disneyland off a flight because people accused a girl of having lice, the family says.

The Newman family was waiting to board a flight from Chicago to Santa Ana, Calif., on Friday when J Newman’s wife noticed something in their daughter’s hair, NBC 5 reports.

“There was some dry skin in my daughter’s hair,” the father of two said. “So, she was just kind of taking it out of my daughter’s hair.”

About a half-hour later an airline employee approached the family, and they were removed from their flight even though it was never confirmed that the 6-year-old girl had lice.

Southwest told NBC 5 in a statement that their 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.”

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

The family was told the next flight they could get on would be two days later. They told NBC 5 they never received an apology or any compensation for their loss. Southwest Airlines said it was working directly with the family and was sorry for any inconvenience.

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

Southwest Airlines says the flight was not overbooked.

Adam Darby: 816-234-4318, @adarby87

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