Southwest Crew Accused Of Offering Glue To Secure A Child’s Mask

A passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight has accused the flight attendant of suggesting that she glue the mask onto her two-year-old daughter. The child was upset that the mask prevented her from sucking her thumb. Federal law currently requires all children aged two and above to wear a face covering.

Southwest Airlines, Profit, 737 MAX
A passenger on a Southwest flight claims cabin crew advised the use of glue to secure the child’s mask. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

Duct tape gets replaced by glue

Trying to keep passengers in line is proving to be a tricky job for some flight attendants. With the FAA reporting record numbers of inflight incidents, be they drunk and disorderly guests or just those who won’t put on their mask, airlines and cabin crew have had to resort to some interesting solutions to keep their passengers in line.

Way back when, Alaska Airlines introduced a yellow card system to let passengers know when they were out of order. Other airlines adopted a more strict ‘no mask, no fly’ rule, which quite simply would prevent people from getting onboard if they didn’t possess an appropriate face covering.

But now, a story has emerged of a Southwest flight where crew went a full step further than this.  Last week, we said perhaps duct tape was the new cabin crew must-have item. This week, it seems it could be superglue.

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Glue it on

Mum of two Ali Cleek reportedly boarded a Southwest Airlines flight from Orlando to Norfolk last week, on August 12th. Traveling with her was her husband and both kids. One child, Drew, only two years of age, was distressed on boarding the flight, a fact that was not helped by the requirement to wear a mask.

In a post to social media, Ms Cleek shares that a flight attendant was watching over them as she wrestled with her daughter and attempted to put on her mask. The child is noted to be a thumb sucker, something that she uses to calm herself in stressful times, and something that is impossible while wearing a mask.

Ms Cleek then goes on the describe an incident that is almost unbelievable.


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A post shared by Ali Cleek (@agcleek)

Cleek claims that the flight attendant offered her two options to resolve the situation. The first was to ‘cut a hole in it,’ presumably to allow the child to such her thumb and calm down. The second was to glue it on.

While both options are clearly not in the spirit of either human rights or mask-wearing, Cleek felt thoroughly put out by the suggestion. In her post, she added,

“I don’t like being this person. Wearing a mask is the federal mandate… I get it. I respect it. But at some point we have to have human decency. Compassion.”

Was it a joke?

It’s not clear if the cabin crew was making a joke or not, but it’s unlikely the person was being serious. While Southwest’s policy upholds the strict federal mandate requiring mask-wearing on aircraft, that doesn’t mean the airline would be unreasonable with such a young traveler.

Southwest 737
The US has a strict requirement for masks on all aircraft. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines told Simple Flying,

“Our Customer Relations experts reached to the family to offer apologies for any frustration they experienced during the flight. We’ve shared the family’s concern with our Flight Attendant Leadership Team, though we don’t have any reports from the flight to confirm the comment. Southwest Employees strive each day to diffuse stressful situations during this unusual time in our history, as we work to communicate the need to enforce a federal mandate on face masks with care and sensitivity.”

What do you think? Was Southwest too strict? Let us know in the comments.