Frontier Airlines came under fire on Sunday when they canceled a flight in Florida after ejecting a Hasidic family for allegedly refusing to wear masks. Passengers and video seem to tell an entirely different story involving a maskless 1-year-old baby.
The incident involved flight 2878 which was scheduled to depart Miami and fly to LaGuardia Airport in New York at 7 p.m. But after the altercation, the airline forced all passengers to debark and then reschedule their flight for the next morning. The family at the center of the dispute allegedly decided to go with a different airline.
“Multiple people, including several adults, were asked repeatedly to wear their masks and refused to do so,” the airline claimed in a highly publicized statement. “Based on the continued refusal to comply with the federal mask mandate, refusal to disembark the aircraft, and aggression towards the flight crew, local law enforcement was engaged.”
An Orthodox Jewish person spoke up in defense of the Hasidic couple. Then the whole family siblings and in-laws started leaving the plane at which point the @FlyFrontier ordered everyone off of the airplane. pic.twitter.com/N1OwqxFI3Q
— OJPAC (@OJPAC) March 1, 2021
Several passengers comforted the family as they waited on the plane. Three eyewitnesses would later allege that they witnessed Frontier Airlines’ staff high-five each other after the family was removed from the plane. There are also allegations of anti-Semitism floating around.
Hershey Greenbaum was a passenger on the flight and he tells a different story. He believes the family was removed because of their child not wearing a mask while it appears that the parents were wearing them.
“We were all on the plane when they [flight attendants] came on and saw the 18-month-old baby without a mask,” Greenbaum told the New York Post. He said that passengers defended the family and got “rowdy” when they were forced off the plane.
The video purportedly shows that the father explained to the flight attendant that the child was under the age of two. Greenbaum also says that the parent told the attendants that they would try and put a mask on the baby but they were kicked off the plane anyway.
“All the people on the plane were getting really mad and rowdy because what are you going to do? It’s an 18-month old baby,” Greenbaum angrily said.
“Most of them were saying ‘Don’t let them do this to you,’” he reported. “Most of the people were against it, Jewish or not Jewish, why are you picking on an 18-month-old kid?”
MORE VIDEO! Another passenger who was not part of the travel group and not in the same ethnic group as the victimized travelers is alleging that “they are saying some nasty things… I heard some nasty things being said…. They (@FlyFrontier staff) are making it worse.” pic.twitter.com/lP8T6JR5tw
— OJPAC (@OJPAC) March 1, 2021
The airline released a statement that seemed to incense everyone involved: “To be clear, the issue did not stem from a child under the age of two.”
Members of a large group, including adults, refused to wear masks as flight 2878 was preparing for departure from MIA-LGA. Repeated requests to comply with federal law necessitated their removal from the flight. The issue did not stem from a child under 2.
— Frontier Airlines (@FlyFrontier) March 1, 2021
The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council published plenty of video on Twitter that showed the altercation taking place. A number of passengers can be heard railing at the flight attendants for their actions against the family.
“What are you accomplishing?” one person wanted to know.
“I’m having it all on tape, this is gonna go all over the news,” another passenger shouted. “You’re all going to suffer the consequences of this.”
“This is Nazi Germany,” another shouted at the flight attendants.
15 police officers reportedly showed up in response to the incident.
Under new federal mandates, all airline passengers who are two years and older in age must wear a face mask. The exception is when they are eating or drinking. Allowances are also made for medical exemptions.