According to media reports Tuesday, a Denver mother said she feared for her baby’s life as he overheated while a plane waited two hours to take off during a heat wave in last week.
The Denver Post reported last Thursday, the baby is recovering now, but a Colorado mother is angry over United Airlines’ response.
Emily France said she and her baby son were on a plane, got off during a first delay, back on the jet, and then another delay with the temperature outside Denver International around 90 degrees.
She says there was hot air coming from the vents while waiting to take off and that the longer they sat on the plane, the hotter her son got. Flight attendants brought bags of ice to help cool Owen down, and they let her sit by the open door, she said.
France said Owen began drifting in and out consciousness. She said she thought Owen was going to “die in her arms” and pleaded for an ambulance.
She said it took a half hour to get off the jet.
“I stood in front of the plane door holding my limp son as the ground crew told us they could not get us off the flight. The evacuation was chaos. I am sharing Owen’s story in the hopes that this never happens to anyone ever again,” France said.
United Airlines, in a statement to NBC News, said, “This should never have happened. We are profoundly sorry to our customer and her child for the experience they endured. We are actively looking into what happened to prevent this from occurring again.”
France says the whole ordeal took about two hours, but United disputed that time frame in a written statement: “This should never have happened. We are profoundly sorry to our customer and her child for the experience they endured. We are actively looking into what happened to prevent this from occurring again. The pilot returned to the gate as our crew called for paramedics to meet the aircraft. Medical care was provided to the child within 16 minutes of the Captain’s call for paramedics.”
Department of Transportation rules state that airlines can’t leave passengers waiting on the tarmac for longer than two hours on domestic flights and three hours on international flights without the chance to deplane.