A Colorado woman says that her family was removed from a United Airlines flight because their toddler wouldn’t wear a mask.
“Today we got kicked off of a United flight going from Denver to Newark because our 2yo would not ‘comply’ and keep her mask on,” Eliz Orban wrote on Twitter in a tweet that has gone massively viral with more than 4 million hits so far. The airline also banned the family for life.
As a further inconvenience, their luggage apparently was kept on the departing jet even as they were forced to deplane.
Setting aside one’s feelings about compulsory facial coverings, the video seems heartbreaking, with the child visibly upset by the mask requirement, despite Orban’s husband’s best efforts to get her to wear a mask.
The video also shows the interaction between the husband and a flight attendant who delivers the bad news that the family has to leave the plane, in which the former points out that he is covering her face as he is holding her.
“This is compliance: I’m literally holding my daughter’s face. This is compliance right here,” the dad tells the flight attendant to no avail.
Today we got kicked off of a United flight going from Denver to Newark because our 2yo would not “comply” and keep her mask on. Go see the full IGTV on my Instagram @elizfulop 😷 pic.twitter.com/KXCICsBSMj
— Eliz Orban (@elizfulop) December 12, 2020
United Airlines released a statement about the incident that suggests there might be room for some compromise:
The health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority, which is why we have a multi-layered set of policies, including mandating that everyone onboard two and older wears a mask, These procedures are not only backed by guidance from the CDC and our partners at the Cleveland Clinic, but they’re also consistent across every major airline.”
“We are investigating this specific incident and have made contact with the family. We also refunded their tickets, returned their car seat and are in the process of returning their bags.”
Influencers such as U.S. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) reacted to the video on his social media account: “In what universe does this make any sense?? A two-year-old child? WATCH this video. This isn’t keeping anyone safe. It’s just arbitrary & nonsensical. And infuriating.” Pundit Megyn Kelly similarly asserted that “This is unbelievable… and infuriating.” Outkick‘s Clay Travis described the situation as “complete and total madness.”
Orban told Fox & Friends that the experience was traumatizing and humiliating and claimed that they had virtually no warning that a problem existed until a supervisor showed up and told them to exit the plane.
In the segment, the Fox & Friends hosts assailed the airline for a lack of common sense when it comes to the application of such mandates.
On social media, some users indicated that bad parenting was the source of the issue, while others questioned the United Airlines policy. Here is just a sample:
BS; who’s the boss of a 2 year old? You! Not always easy, but mandatory right now; Get some parenting skills
— Annie (@LaddieDel) December 12, 2020
United has to follow the covid rules. Was this the first time the child wore a mask? Why didnt the family have a baby size mask? That mask covered her entire face. I wouldnt wear it either.
— Karen Roberts (@AbitofthisKaren) December 12, 2020
@united – I will not fly with you until this family receives a full apology, a hefty payment for their troubles, a full refund. My company which has bought thousands of tickets from you also will not be using United. Make a good decision. It’s not your place to force mask kids!
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) December 13, 2020
imagine playing this scene- dad forced to mimic smothering his already thoroughly traumatized 2 year old on a plane- to people exactly one year ago, and try to explain it. We’ve all gone mad.
— PeteysBookClub (@PeteyR13) December 12, 2020
Maybe don’t get on a plane and endanger everyone’s life if the parents can’t parent a two year old. I can’t imagine how out of control the child will be when it’s 16.
— @VegasDawg (@tracyvegas) December 12, 2020
This just ticks me off! Little kids should NOT have to wear masks!!! I am so tired of people saying to, “follow the science”, yet that is NOT what is being done. Children are NOT transmitters of COVID…..that’s why they opened the schools back up!
— Cee (@lastblast7) December 12, 2020
HOW can you expect a 2-yr-old to wear a mask? Are they insane? 2 yr olds have a hard time staying in one seat, not crying when they are frustrated. Are airlines OTHER than @United this crazy strict?
— I Have Questions (@LassFromSC) December 12, 2020
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