Family Booted off JetBlue Flight After Child Kicks Seat
Another week, another controversial viral airline incident. This time JetBlue was caught up in the mix, only two months after getting flack for removing a family off a flight over a birthday cake. Now, video has emerged of a family of five being kicked off a JetBlue flight after one of their children kicked the seat in front of them. While the incident occurred on June 21, the footage is just appearing now. The events happened as follows:
Tamir Raanan and Mandy Ifrah were traveling from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to New York (JFK) with their three children, ages one, five and eight. After boarding the flight and taking their seats, the one year-old kicked the seat in front of her. The passenger, whose seat was kicked, turned around and made some impolite comments to the family, according to Ifrah.
“She is about to have a bottle and kicked the lady in front of us. The lady huffed and puffed. She got up and said, ‘You should hold your baby’s feet,’" Ifrah told The New York Post. "'She is a baby — what would you like me to do? I’m sorry, and I am trying my best to control the situation right now.’”
The passenger then switched seats, everyone relaxed and the situation seemed to be resolved, said Ifrah. At that point, JetBlue's staff got involved and that's when things got complicated. Ranaan began filming the interaction between the family and a JetBlue employee, Armando Gonzalez, who boarded the plane. Gonzalez asked the family to come off the plane and discuss the incident, which they responded to as "ridiculous" and they told Gonzalez that they weren't leaving the aircraft.
Eventually, the family complied and the next video shows them talking with Gonzalez and law enforcement in the jetway; at that point all of the passengers were forced to deplane because of the event. Ifrah and Ranaan continued to question Gonzalez about why they were getting kicked off and how they were going to get home. Gonzalez replied: "You were removed from the airplane because you were not cooperating with me ... at this point if you want more information about the incident, you'll have to call 1-800-JetBlue."
Towards the end of the video, deputies from the Broward County Sheriff's Office stepped in and told the family that they would not be getting on a JetBlue flight that night.
Today, JetBlue issued this statement regarding the incident:
"After a verbal altercation that included physical threats and profanities against a nearby customer, the aircraft door was reopened and our airports team politely asked the customers to step off to discuss the situation. The customers refused repeated requests and our crewmembers deplaned the entire aircraft. Law enforcement escorted them out of the gate area and we provided a refund. The customers were not removed due to the actions of their children. We are investigating whether the customers’ behavior warrants restrictions on JetBlue travel and we thank our crewmembers for their professional handling of this unfortunate incident."
The couple said that they didn't receive their luggage until a week after the flight and that they had to stay in Florida for the night without any of their belongings — including clothes and baby supplies, according to a statement from the couple's lawyer. They paid $2,000 for new tickets to fly back to New York the next day and were refunded just $500 from JetBlue.
According to The New York Post, JetBlue has banned Ifran and Raanan from flying the carrier. The couple is looking at taking legal action against the carrier for emotional distress and defamation of character, according to their lawyer.
H/T: The New York Post