He dismissed her claims that they had been thrown off the flight because Lukas was crying.
The family never made it to NY, however.
In video shot by Rui, she was confronted by airline personnel and security in the terminal and told she could not get back on the plane with her family, with the only explanation given that she was removed for "not complying".
Rui said the attendants conferred at the front of the plane while she stopped breastfeeding and put her son, who had begun crying, in his seat. A Spirit Airlines representative told her she would not be allowed back on board. After she got off the plane, Mei recorded what happened next on her phone.
Spirit even called police to escort the family away from the gate.
"Does Spirit not understand that 2-year-olds can not sit still in a seat belt for 3+ hours?" she posted. "(As another passenger said, he was completely quiet for the first 2 hours of the delay)", she wrote. The passengers first had to wait patiently inside the plane as it was de-iced.
Rui, who was traveling to NY to participate in a recording for a clinical cancer research study, took her son out of his seat and started breastfeeding the toddler to put him to sleep and keep him from crying. According to Inc. a woman named Mei Rui was traveling with her elderly parents and her two-year-old child.
However, Rui claims that the doors to the plane were still open. Flight attendants told her to stop and put the child into his seat, but Mei said she asked for a few minutes to finish to prevent her son from waking up. "It's not like I was resistant, I put him in the seat", Mei told The Washington Post.
But the 6:30 a.m. flight was repeatedly delayed due to weather, stranding passengers in the cabin, she said, a fact confirmed by flight data.
Rui, a Yale medical school graduate and cancer researcher who is also an accomplished piano player and teacher, said the ordeal was worse than Hurricane Harvey which destroyed her home and her elderly parents' home.
He began crying as she had anticipated. "If they had shown a little compassion, it wouldn't have happened, they didn't have to let it escalate".
Rui missed her chance to participate in the cancer study.
Responding to Rui's complaint, Spirit issued a statement reading: "Our records indicate a passenger was removed from Flight 712 after refusing to comply with crew instructions several times during taxi to runway and safety briefing".
Schuler noted that FAA regulations and airline policies require all passengers stay seated and buckled during takeoff and landing. "As a courtesy, we've issued a full refund to the customer in question".