Spirit Airlines was already dealing with a PR disaster after one of its flight attendants removed a family from a flight when their 2-year-old child took her mask off to eat, and the airline stepped further into a mess when it blamed the New Jersey couple for failing to comply with its mask requirement.
The budget airline initially claimed the parents broke the mask rule, saying that incident was not caught on video. But a video showed the flight attendant pointing to the couple’s young child as the reason they were being asked to deplane.
Ari and Avital Eisenberg, of Toms River, N.J., spent Passover in Florida and were returning home with their children, — Rikki, 2, and Daniel, 7, who reportedly has special needs.
“We are aware of incorrect information circulating about Spirit Airlines Flight 138 from Orlando to Atlantic City. The flight was delayed due to the adults in the party not complying with the federal mask requirement,” the original statement from the airline read.
“We have allowed the guests to continue on the flight to their destination after assurances of compliance,” the release continued. “The safety of our guests and team members is our top priority.”
Spirit Airlines issued this statement but then subsequently deleted it. pic.twitter.com/lIVumW2uZS
— suzy (@suzy__1776) April 6, 2021
Adding to the horrible imaging for Spirit, Avital Eisenberg is seven months pregnant.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News, the Eisenbergs said a flight attendant kicked them off the plane because Rikki was not in compliance with the airline’s mask policy, which stipulates that passengers ages 2 and older must wear a mask.
Mrs. Eisenberg said she told the attendant her son has seizures and that covering his mouth could induce them, promising she’d do her best to make sure he kept a mask on.
“I told you, noncompliance — you’ll have to get off. I didn’t want to do this,” the flight attendant told the couple.
When the mother replied that they are wearing masks, the flight crew member pointed to her daughter, who was sitting in her lap eating yogurt, “She not wearing one,” adding that “the pilot wants you off.”
Eventually, everyone aboard was forced to disembark the plane.
The new statement put out by Spirit removed the word “adults.”
“The flight was delayed due to compliance issues with the federal mask mandate,” the revamped statement said.
— Spirit Airlines (@SpiritAirlines) 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,” Ari Eisenberg said. “Everything was fine and all of the sudden someone comes over to us and asks us to deplane. We did comply. I kept asking what didn’t we comply with and [they had] nothing to say.”
The mother told Fox News the experience was “traumatic” for the children.
“My son missed his medication window. Thank God he didn’t have a seizure,” she said.
“He was sitting there in a soaking wet diaper because I couldn’t change him during the whole thing,” the young mother continued. “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.”
There were reports that the flight attendant who first confronted the couple was not allowed back on the plane after being escorted off by Orlando police officers.
Spirit Airlines countered to say this was not true: “There is also no truth to claims that police became involved with or removed a flight attendant. Orlando police have stated publicly that, though present at the gate, they did not take an active role in this situation.”
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