16/06/2011 11:44 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

12-Year-Old Refused A Plane Ticket - Because She Has Down's Syndrome

Mum claims daughter refused a plane ticket - because she has Down's Syndrome M & Y News Agency

The mum of a 12-year-old girl with Down's Syndrome was refused a plane ticket by BA staff.

Heather Saunders, 49, was unable to buy a ticket for Alice to fly from Gatwick to Glasgow after reportedly being told it was not 'company policy' to allow passengers with Down's Syndrome to travel unaccompanied.

The outraged mum said she was told by BA: "Our policy says we don't take children with Down's Syndrome". When asked why, the BA customer service agent told her it was because they'd had 'problems in the past.'

Mrs Saunders says that Alice is an independent child who is in mainstream education and regularly goes away with church and Guide groups:

'We didn't know Alice had Down's syndrome before she was born. Our expectation has always been she would do what her siblings have done – with extra support. Alice knows she has Down's. She's very proud of the fact. We've never had any problem with discrimination before. I was very cross after speaking with British Airways and I got crosser afterwards. It was discrimination against people with a disability but more worryingly people with a specific disability. BA should be better informed.'

A BA spokesman has since said it is NOT company policy to refuse solo flyers with Down's Syndrome, saying 'We will carry any child over five years old as an unaccompanied minor provided they can go to the toilet unassisted, feed themselves, and behave in a socially acceptable manner.This includes children who have Down's Syndrome and other additional needs.'

The company have apologised unreservedly to Mrs Saunders and have offered her two return tickets as an apology.