A Chicago family had their idyllic holiday vacation disrupted Friday after fellow passengers at an airline gate accused them of having lice. The Newman family were taken off a Santa Ana, California, bound flight after other people in the airport expressed concern that they may have the highly contagious head bugs, NBC Chicago reported.
'Is this a joke?': Lice allegation gets Chicago family bound for Disneyland barred from flight https://t.co/cG1d5zLPBV pic.twitter.com/96iTlChtez
— NBC Chicago (@nbcchicago) December 30, 2017
J Newman, his wife and their two daughters were waiting to board the California-bound flight so they could eventually escape the Chicago cold and take a family trip to Disneyland. The mother was picking through one of the daughter’s hair because she had dry skin on her scalp, which caused other people at the gate to fear the possibility of lice. A Southwest Airlines agent later approached the family and took them off the flight, which had already been delayed by five hours.
“We never want to inconvenience customers but when we receive concerns from multiple people, we’re obligated to look into them,” Southwest said in a statement to NBC Chicago.
The family insisted none of them had lice, but that did not stop them from being removed from the flight. They were then told the next available flight would be two days later. According to the family, they were not compensated for their troubles by Southwest Airlines.
“My daughter is hysterical because she thinks this is her fault that she’s not going to Disneyland,” the father told NBC Chicago.
Lice are incredibly contagious and there are no quick, surefire ways to get rid of them. Controversial sports analyst Clay Travis made headlines earlier in 2017 when Delta Airlines pulled his family from the last leg of a long flight because his child turned out to have lice while on the plane.