Mei Rui, a cancer researcher and pianist, took to Facebook to recall the incident, saying she was on her way to New York with her elderly parents and toddler to participate in a cancer research study, The Independent reports.
She claims she was breastfeeding her son when flight attendants on the Spirit Airlines aircraft asked her to put him in his seat.
"Since the plane hadn’t finished re-boarding, and the doors were still open, I politely asked for a couple more minutes so I could finish nursing him," she wrote, saying that would prevent him from crying throughout the flight and disturbing the other passengers.
"Seeing that I did not stop breastfeeding him promptly, they went back and at that point must have called the captain. I didn’t want to cause any trouble, so I immediately pulled my son off and forced-buckled him into the seat, which set off uncontrollable crying for the next 25 minutes to the great dismay and earache of everyone on the plane," she recalls.
"The crew came back (baby had been strapped in the seat for over 20 minutes at that point) and asked us to leave. We said that we haven’t violated any regulations and asked why? They left, and at that point must have called the police."
"My parents and my young son are completely traumatised from this experience," Rui wrote. "All we want is an explanation for why we were kicked off the plane, and what exactly we were ‘non-compliant’ with, after complying and buckling my son into the seat and keeping him there for the entire duration until asked to deplane."
The airline has stated that the family were removed after failing to comply with crew instructions, however, Rui says the "only 'non-compliance' is that my son was crying for 25 minutes straight after I force-buckled him into the airplane seat."
Friends replied to Rui's post writing: "This is one of the worst airline stories I have ever heard. So sorry for you and your family. I'm glad your plight is getting some media attention," and, "I am very sorry you had to go through this, Mei! Horrible!"