Family Gets Kicked Off Plane After Son Is Discovered With Lice

Are there policies in place for traveling with lice on a flight? According to Sports Analyst, Clay Travis, there are none online for Delta Airlines. However, that didn’t stop Delta employees from kicking his family off their plane because their son had head lice. Travis wrote about his family’s experience on his website.

Thier Experience

Travis and his family were flying home from a vacation in Paris. Weeks before their vacation, their kids hung around cousins who had head lice so after their play date, their mom treated their heads with over-the-counter lice treatments and gave them regular baths. They never spotted lice so they thought they were in the clear.

“Until, that is, halfway over the Atlantic Ocean when my six year old son needed to go the bathroom. While he was standing in line for the bathroom, my six year old started to scratch his head. My wife checked to see why he was scratching his head and saw then that he had lice. Several flight attendants rushed over too and peered down at my son’s head. ‘Oh, my God, he has lice,’ they said.”

That’s when the debacle began. When the plane landed in Minneapolis for their connecting flight to Nashville, flight attendants told the Travis family that they were not allowed to leave the plane. This seemed strange to Travis and as a lawyer, he is all about research so he opened his lap top and looked up policies about traveling with head lice.

What Travis Found

He didn’t find any policies from Delta Airlines but he did find what the CDC says about head lice:
“Students diagnosed with live head lice do not need to be sent home early from school; they can go home at the end of the day, be treated, and return to class after appropriate treatment has begun. Nits may persist after treatment, but successful treatment should kill crawling lice. Head lice can be a nuisance but they have not been shown to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) advocate that “no-nit” policies should be discontinued. “No-nit” policies that require a child to be free of nits before they can return to schools should be discontinued for the following reasons:
Many nits are more than ¼ inch from the scalp. Such nits are usually not viable and very unlikely to hatch to become crawling lice, or may in fact be empty shells, also known as ‘casings’. Nits are cemented to hair shafts and are very unlikely to be transferred successfully to other people.
The burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice.
Misdiagnosis of nits is very common during nit checks conducted by nonmedical personnel.”


“If the CDC recommends schools not send home kids for lice — and the present policy is moving towards never sending kids home at all — shouldn’t an airline let a kid complete his travel home with his family? After all, isn’t his lice as much of an issue in all public venues like subways, hotels, and taxis? Furthermore, what would an airline do if they discovered a kid traveling alone had lice? Are they really going to refuse to allow a ten or 12 year old to complete his connecting flight? Are they going to put him in a hotel by himself? What if a child was part of a school group? Does the entire school group get held behind? Are you going to insist a teacher keep a minor child in a hotel room over night? It’s just an absurd policy to apply this way. Delta completely bungled this situation,” Travis wrote on his website.

The Travis family got kicked out of the airport and weren’t able to return until they had proof of treatment for every member of their family, not just the infected son.

This story is an encouragement to get your kids a head check before boarding a plane. And don’t trust OTC lice treatments!

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