AUSTIN (KXAN) — Rebecca Sylvia-Cramer believes masks have kept her family safe.

“My son has a kidney issue, and I am pregnant, so we can’t get sick,” she explained.

That’s why it was upsetting for this mom of two, when she says Frontier Airlines told her that her toddler was being noncompliant, because he wouldn’t wear his mask on a flight out of Denver to Austin. 

“The biggest issue for me is that I got treated like a criminal, and I am not a criminal” she told KXAN’s Britt Moreno over Zoom from Colorado.

Sylvia-Cramer, her 4-year-old, 2-year-old and mother did not end up flying home Wednesday.

Sylvia-Cramer says her family was excited initially. She says her 2-year-old is a “corona baby,” so he had never been on a plane, but the entire experience was not what she expected.

“So, I will say that the first time we were approached, [the flight attendant] did not approach me, she approached my son and told my son, who is 2-years-old, and told him he needed to stop playing with the armrest.”

  • Rebecca Sylvia-Cramer and her family (Courtesy of Rebecca)
  • Rebecca Sylvia-Cramer's 2-year-old son
  • Rebecca Sylvia-Cramer and her family

Sylvia-Cramer says there were no passengers in the row in front of her family nor the row behind.

After that she says the flight attendant asked Sylvia-Cramer to tell her son to wear his mask. Her son had his mask on a lanyard hanging around his neck. Sylvia-Cramer told the flight attendant her son was hungry, because the flight was delayed getting into Denver, and they didn’t anticipate having lunch so late. She had given him a lollipop to hold him over until they were up in the air.

“I had one [mask] ready for both my kids, and I said, ‘he’s eating now.’ It’s my understanding that if kids are eating, they can take their masks off,” she said.

Sylvia-Cramer says several flight attendants asked how old her son was. She asked one of them why they were questioning her.

“I was like, ‘what’s going on? Do you think I’m not being compliant, like I understand I’m trying to get him to wear his mask.’ And [one flight attendant] said, ‘no we’re just checking for numbers. We need to know if he’s a lap child or has his own seat.'”

Still according to Sylvia-Cramer, another Frontier Airlines employee boarded the plane and told her his supervisor was trying to decide whether her family should take a different flight. That’s when Sylvia-Cramer, who is now in tears telling this part of her story, says, “I stood up, and I said, ‘I’m so sorry. I’m pregnant, and I have two toddlers, and I’m just doing the best I can.'”

Sylvia-Cramer voluntarily got off the plane with her children, because she didn’t want to hold up the plane with passengers on board any longer. She is now driving from Denver to Austin with her family.

Frontier Airlines told us even with the family’s delay ahead of take off, “the flight ultimately arrived in Austin just three minutes past the scheduled arrival time.” Moreno asked about Frontier Airlines’ eating policy. Frontier says, “Pulling your mask down briefly to eat or drink is allowed but having your mask down for an extended period of time is not.”

Frontier Airlines is processing a refund for Sylvia-Cramer.