May 10, 2016
'Humiliated' Mom Says She Was Kicked Off Of A Plane Because Of Her Son's Oxygen Tank

A Las Vegas woman says she was kicked off of a Frontier Airlines flight because of her son's oxygen tank, KSNV (Las Vegas) is reporting.

Yamile Quintero says her 7-month-old son, Roman, was born prematurely and has a heart murmur. For these reasons, he requires a portable oxygen tank.

Quintero says she did everything she could think of to make sure she would be able to carry her son's oxygen tank onto the plane, including calling Frontier Airlines several times to make sure it would be OK.

"I asked and they were like 'yeah, as long as it's portable oxygen, you're fine -- you can get on the plane.'"

However, once she went through security at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport and sat down in her seat, crew on board the aircraft sang a different tune. They told her she needed an FAA-approved oxygen concentrator instead, according to WTDV (Raleigh).

In fact, it seems as though Quintero's entire ordeal comes down to a series of miscommunications between the FAA, the Frontier agents who answered her phone calls, and the flight crew that day.

Specifically, the FAA generally forbids passengers from bringing compressed or liquid oxygen on board an aircraft, including recreational oxygen or canned oxygen. However, passengers requiring oxygen are allowed to bring on Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POCs).

kicked off plane oxygen tank
An example of an FAA-approved Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC). [Image via Donaldoleforo | Wikimedia Commons by CC BY-SA 4.0]

Further, airlines are free to set their own policies regarding the Portable Oxygen Concentrators, including requiring a doctor's note, if they so choose.

In a statement, Richard Oliver, a Frontier Airlines representative, admitted that the telephone agents who answered Yamile's calls gave her the wrong information.

"Our agent responded and said, 'Yes, portable oxygen is allowed on the plane' and continues to say that if you want to make sure your device is allowed on the plane, you can check our website."

Yamile, however, believes that it's Frontier Airlines' responsibility to get their stories straight before letting a passenger sit down on the aircraft.

"I did all the proper protocols. I called, I double checked at the door, I double checked at the gate, I double checked everywhere. I called and I did everything. I followed all the procedures and I'm getting kicked off the plane like I'm some type of criminal. Multiple times I stated it was a portable oxygen tank. And they said it was fine, and it wasn't. And they kicked me off the plane for it and humiliated me."

Yamile's story indicates the importance of checking out an airline's website when it comes to matters of what is and what is not allowed on a plane, as call center agents answering questions from passengers are prone to making mistakes.

Specifically, on Frontier Airlines' website, under the section entitled "Special Services," the airline makes it clear that only POCs are allowed on board - and only certain POCs, and only with doctor's permission on a special form.

"Prior to traveling, passengers must complete the Portable Oxygen Concentrator Medical Authorization Form 30881 (PDF)or obtain a medical statement from their physician addressing the points on the Frontier Medical Authorization form."

As of this writing, it is not clear if Frontier Airlines has compensated Ms. Quintero for her ordeal or if she was able to book passage on another flight.

Yamile says that getting kicked off of the plane for her son's oxygen tank ruined her first Mother's Day.

[Image via Shutterstock/Dedi Grigoroiu]