She just wanted to get home, bogged down with luggage and a cranky two-year-old – days after her first flight had been canceled.
The straw that broke the camel’s back, according to the woman, who asked to remain unnamed, came when the little girl pulled her mask down to drink from a baby bottle.
The airline said the flight staff kicked off the mother-daughter duo because they were violating a federal coronavirus mask mandate for air travelers.
"Two customers were removed from American Airlines flight 3573 prior to departure from Key West (EYW) for failing to comply with the federal face mask requirement," an American Airlines spokesperson told Fox News Digital Thursday. "After agreeing to comply with the face mask requirement, the customers were rebooked for travel on the next available flight to Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW) and completed travel later that day."
But the woman said she was trying to adhere to the rules and keep her toddler’s mask on.
American Airlines’ COVID-19 policy requires children age 2 or older to wear masks during flights. But the woman says she hadn’t been asked to have her daughter mask up on multiple flights between Salt Lake City, Dallas, Mexico and Key West.
"There was no problem with her in the airport," the mom, a Salt Lake City native, told Fox News Digital. "Any of the times we were walking around with her, nobody said anything. I’ve never been told anything."
But as she tried to board American Airlines flight 3573 last week, hands full carrying a diaper bag, her purse, her daughter’s car seat and her daughter’s blanket and stuffed animal, she said a flight attendant blocked her from reaching her seat
The flight attendant gave her an adult-sized mask for the 2-year-old and told her to put it on the child.
"So I set her car seat down on this seat that was open in first class, because no one was sitting there," the mother said. "I tried to hurry and put it on her, and she was like, ‘No, you need to get completely off the plane and put it on.’"
The mother grabbed her belongings and ushered her daughter out on to the boarding bridge, holding up the rest of the passengers. She put the mask on her daughter, and they got back on the plane and found their seats.
But the girl was antsy, toying with the mask, and asked for her bottle.
"So I gave her her bottle, which I typically always have prepared when we get on a plane, so she can drink it when we take off because her ears pop," she said. "So they came back over and told me she needs to wear a mask."
She said she was told her daughter had to mask up between sips.
"I took away her bottle, which didn’t go over well, and I was trying to get her to wear the mask, and she was fussing about it," the mother said.
Moments later, before the flight took off, the mother said all passengers were ordered off the plane.
"They made the entire plane get all of their luggage off, de-board, wouldn’t let me and my daughter back on, and re-boarded the plane, resulting in multiple people missing their connecting flight," she said.
Flight records show a roughly 40-minute delay before the plane departed.
The mother’s story is backed up by at least one person claiming to be a passenger on the same flight – who penned a 1,700-word Facebook post deriding the attendant’s decision to delay the entire flight over "a crying baby."
Basinski did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
"Ever see something that’s clearly not right and you just can't keep your mouth shut about?" Colleen Kavanaugh Basinski wrote. "Well that’s what I just did and nearly got kicked off my flight because of it."
She said she "rarely" has had issues with American Airlines in the past and flies with them "all the time."
But she said the treatment of the single mother bothered her – and the subsequent delay caused her to miss her connecting flight.
On her way off the plane, she wrote, she told the flight attendant, "You should be ashamed of yourself. A crying baby, really?"
Once all the passengers – minus the single mom and her toddler – returned to their seats, Basinski wrote that the flight attended "marched over" to her and repeatedly asked, "Do you have a problem?"
"I tried to ignore her...and she repeated it over and over, and then I finally said, ‘yes,’" she wrote. "She called over first gate attendant immediately and said that I was threatening her and that she should have me kicked off the flight too (clearly she was relishing and having the mom and baby kicked off, like she had won some sort of grudge match....it was disgusting)."
"My problem was her, her tyrannical power hungry attitude," she added.
American Airlines and the mother both said a customer service agent reached out to her over the weekend. It was not immediately clear whether they’d come to terms on a remedy.
"We are reviewing this incident and a member of our team has reached out to the customers to learn more about their experience," the airline spokesperson said.