A Spirit Airlines flight was delayed, and all its passengers were deplaned, when a Jewish family was unable to keep a mask on their two year-old daughter.
The flight from Orlando was supposed to leave around 11 a.m., but an hour later the passengers found themselves forced off the plane instead.
In a video published on social media, a flight attendant approached a Jewish couple with their children, including one with special needs. The mother is holding a maskless toddler in her lap, who she identified as two-years old.
The flight attendant told them they will have to leave the plan due to lack of mask compliance. “I’m sorry, but they want you off,” she said, pointing towards the pilot’s cabin. “It’s not my choice…the pilot wants you off.”
“I keep putting it on,” the mother protested, “she keeps pulling it off …. she’s a baby.” When the mother puts on the mask the toddler, she grows upset and tears it off.
Other passengers are heard speaking up on their behalf, some saying they will help with masks, others complaining the whole situation is a waste of time.
At one point other Jewish passengers come to them and try to offer advice, but it was no use. Another video, taken an unknown amount of time later, shows the passengers leaving the plane.
Spirit has faced criticism for similar situations before, including one viral incident when they kicked a family whose four year old autistic son refused to wear a mask off of a flight, the Hill reported.
As of now, according to Spirit’s website, only children under the age of two and certain people with disabilities are exempt from wearing masks.
One hour after the passengers were deplaned, they were all allowed back on to the flight for their return to New Jersey.
On Monday evening, Spirit Airlines tweeted, “We’re aware of incorrect information circulating about Spirit Airlines Flight 138 from Orlando to Atlantic City. The flight was delayed due to compliance issues with the federal mask requirement. We allowed our Guests to continue on the flight to their destination after assurances of compliance. The safety of our guests and Team Members is our top priority.”
Newsweek reported that Spirit Airlines told them that the couple was asked to leave because the parents had not been wearing their masks properly, and they had been asked 2 times to comply. Video of the encounter indicates that the flight attendant seems to be telling the parents that they were being asked to get off due to the non-compliance of the child.
This is a breaking story. We will update as more information is available.
Updated Monday, April 5, 2021 at 1:22 pm .
Updated Monday, April 5, 2021 at 2:43 pm .
Updated Monday, April 5, 2021 at 7:45 pm .
Updated Monday, April 5, 2021 at 7:55 pm .