[UPDATE 6/27/2017 4:42pm PT: A representative on behalf of United Airlines emailed Boing Boing with a statement:
"This should never have happened. We are profoundly sorry to our customer and her child for the experience they endured. We are actively looking into what happened to prevent this from occurring again. The pilot returned to the gate as our crew called for paramedics to meet the aircraft. Medical care was provided to the child within 16 minutes of the Captain's call for paramedics."]
It was hot in Denver on Thursday, the day Emily France and her infant son were stuck aboard a United Airlines jet idling on the runway. After two hours inside the sweltering cabin, the baby became overheated and had trouble breathing. France asked for an ambulance and for the captain to let her and the baby off the plane immediately, but United kept her on the plane for another 30 minutes. "They couldn't evacuate us," France told the Denver Post. "It was chaos. I really thought my son was going to die in my arms."
France planned to fly with Owen to El Paso, Texas, to join her husband, an astrophysicist, for a rocket launch.
Owen struggled in the heat, France said.
"His whole body flashed red and his eyes rolled back in his head and he was screaming," France said. "And then he went limp in my arms. It was the worst moment of my life."
France and other passengers begged for an ambulance. There appeared to be disagreement between the flight crew and the ground crew over whether stairs should be pushed to the aircraft or the airplane should return to the gate, she said.
France said she sobbed as she sat by the open door and waited as Owen drifted in and out consciousness. She estimates they waited 30 minutes before the airplane returned to the gate.
"They seemed completely unprepared for a medical emergency," she said.
Jet image used in collage: Wikipedia/Cliff