A video has gone viral of a Spirit Airlines flight attendant forcing a Jewish family of four to disembark in Florida on Monday because their 2-year-old daughter was not wearing a mask.
The mother is 7 months pregnant and the little girl was eating yogurt on her mom’s lap at the time of the incident. The family also had their special-needs 7-year-old son with them and he reportedly experiences seizures. The flight was going from Orlando to Atlantic City. The Eisenberg family had just celebrated Passover in Florida.
Video shows a flight attendant reprimanding and threatening the family because of the toddler who had just turned 2-years-old a month ago. The father, Ari Eisenberg, spoke with the attendant but she insisted that they needed to leave the plane for “non-compliance” with the mask rules. She blamed it on the pilot but it turned out it was another male flight attendant who was objecting to the family.
The father had his mask down and then pulled it back up while the attendant pointed to the child and said: “She’s not wearing a mask,” as the child spooned more yogurt into her mouth.
(Video Credit: YouTube/Rajan Chawla)
“The baby?” the mom, Avital Eisenberg, asked.
A woman next to the family pointed out to the attendant that “a lot of kids aren’t wearing masks.”
“You’ve been sitting next to me. Was I wearing the mask the whole time? Was I wearing the mask the whole time everybody?” asked the father.
“I’ll make sure he wears it. Everything is going to be fine,” said another man who videoed the incident.
The mom told the attendant, “That’s only a child and a 2-year-old.”
“It’s not my choice. You have to take your stuff and get off,” the attendant demanded. She kept repeating over and over that the family was in “non-compliance with the mask policy.”
“We’re done talking. The pilot wants you off, so you have to get off,” she asserted.
The mother pleaded with the woman: “She’s a baby. She just turned two a month ago. She’s been trying to wear it.”
Then the attendant threatened to call the police which she evidently followed through on.
Everyone was forced to disembark the plane. The father can be heard saying, “the captain was OK with it, the entire plane was OK with it but there was one African American that was not OK with it.”
The police were present in the walkway coming out of the plane. One officer stated: “They’re the ones who were the problem,” as the family in the middle of the controversy walked by.
“Upon arrival, officers saw that the flight was in the middle of de-boarding. Our officers stood by, while Spirit Airlines resolved the issue,” a spokesman stated.
Spirit Airlines claims that the parents broke their rules and that the real incident was not caught on video. But many are disputing that claim and call it a lie. They said that the family was issued a warning and then allowed back on the plane so they could continue to their destination.
Happy ending for the family kicked off Spirit Airlines! Everyone got back on they kicked the flight attendant off instead 😋 pic.twitter.com/Te2G6W04GZ
— suzy (@suzy__1776) April 5, 2021
“I have no words. Next level craziness. I understand if I gave someone attitude…but there was none of that. We were about to take off,” the father, Ari Eisenberg told Fox News. “Everything was fine and all of the sudden someone comes over to us and asks us to deplane. We did comply they and nothing to say. I kept asking what didn’t we comply with and they had nothing to say.”
“My son missed his medication window. Thank God he didn’t have a seizure. He was sitting there in a soaking wet diaper because I couldn’t change him during the whole thing,” the mother said. “My daughter is going crazy from all this it was a terrible terrible experience to go through let alone someone with a special needs child.”
The Daily Mail is claiming that the male flight attendant who had the problem with the family in the first place was escorted off the plane by police and not allowed to re-board. Comments from a number of passengers seem to support that accusation, however, Spirit Airlines is adamant that was not the case. They are claiming that he left because of a crew change and the police being near him was sheer coincidence.
“The only thing that happened with the flight attendant was that after two hours of a delay there was a crew change required and somebody captured police who had come to the gate for the general situation locking down the concourse at the same time as this flight attendant was going on to their next assignment,” spokesman Field Sutton declared.
Sutton added: “There is no truth to claims that a flight attendant ‘wasn’t allowed to get back on board’ or that police became involved with a flight attendant. Orlando police have stated publicly that, though present at the gate, they did not take an active role in this situation.”
Spirit Airlines mandates that all passengers wear masks except when eating or drinking. Children under the age of 2 are exempt and some exceptions are made for children with disabilities.
This is not the first time that the airline has done something like this. Recently, a family was kicked off one of their flights because their 4-year-old autistic son would not wear a mask. The family even had a note from their doctor stating that the child was exempt due to his condition and was protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) April 6, 2021
— Dr. Steve Turley (@DrTurleyTalks) April 5, 2021
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