A family was forced off of a Spirit Airlines flight because their two-year-old child was not wearing a mask while eating,
On April 5, 2021, a video surfaced online of a family being told to leave a flight. In the video, a mother, who has a child on her lap, asks the flight attendant why they have to leave. The flight attendant responds, “Non-compliance.” The parents then point out that they are wearing masks. But the attendant states that their child is not complying. However, the child is eating. The parents point out that their child just turned two, making it hard for her to comply. Eventually, the attendant threatens to call the police. The father responds that he is calling his lawyer.
A range of websites and social media accounts then shared this video online, stating that the family was removed from the flight unfairly. The footage soon gained millions of views.
Misbar’s investigation shows that some of the news sources and social media accounts neglect important information in this story. Shortly after this video surfaced, the father from the video posted an update saying that he and his family had been allowed back onto the flight. He also added that the attendant that instructed the family to leave had herself been removed from the flight.
The Orlando Sentinel provided more context to this story. The mother claimed that her children had special needs, making it even harder to get them to wear masks on the flight. Additionally, the source states that the local police arrived and resolved the issue.
Spirit Airlines has disputed the publicized version of the event. A spokesperson for the company stated that the mother and father twice had to be told to wear their masks appropriately before the content of the viral video occurred, and that these incidents were the main reasons for the removal. This claim may be true, as the father does pull down his mask on more than one occasion in the video. However, it is indisputable that the flight attendant does cite the child’s lack of a mask as a reason for the removal, and that the child is eating during the incident.
Overall, it is hard to judge the exact occurrences of the incident based on the footage and the conflicting statements of the airline and the family. But it is important to note that the situation was resolved and that the family eventually was able to fly without further incident.