Frontier Airlines canceled a Florida flight headed for LaGuardia Airport in New York City on Sunday after it kicked a Jewish family from the plane seemingly over their refusal to put a face mask on their 18-month-old baby.
Footage published on Twitter shows a family of Hasidic Jews, who each wore a face mask, protesting the staff’s decision to force them off the plane for their baby’s absence of a face covering.
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
“I’m having it all on tape, this is gonna go all over the news,” one passenger can be heard in the video. “You’re all going to suffer the consequences of this.”
The flight was ultimately canceled altogether, with passengers rebooked on flights the next morning, the New York Post reported.
Frontier Airlines released a statement Sunday morning pushing back on the family’s assertion that their removal came from a refusal to force a mask on their 18-month-old baby.
“Members of a large group, including adults, refused to wear masks,” the company wrote on Twitter. “Repeated requests to comply with the federal law necessitated their removal from the flight. The issue did not stem from a child under 2.”
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
Video footage of the pandemonium, however, shows only a child under 2 without a face mask, and other passengers on board say they saw staff exchange high fives upon the group deplaning.
“At the end, they all high-fived each other, and they said — I think they said — ‘We did it,’” one woman said.
EYEWITNESS VIDEO! Multiple people say on the record in this video that as the Hasidic couple started leaving the airplane, @FlyFrontier staff applauded, exchanged high fives and one allegedly said “a job well done to those Jews.” Att @PeteButtigieg @FAANews @SenatorCantwell pic.twitter.com/m1Azjw5Hbx— OJPAC (@OJPAC) March 1, 2021
When reached for additional comment, Frontier Airlines doubled down on its claim that adult refusal to comply with mask requirements prompted the flight cancellation and highlighted federal and airline regulations that mandate masks for “all passengers over the age of two.”
“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,” the airline said.
Federal guidelines dictate all passengers aboard commercial aircraft must wear face coverings and remain subject to steep fines and penalties for individuals who resist compliance. Exemptions, however, are provided for those under the age of 2.