An entire JetBlue flight was forced to deplane after a two-year-old refused to wear a mask onboard.
Mother of six Chaya Bruck was travelling from Orlando to New York with all her children when the “traumatising” incident occurred.
Before the flight took off, a member of cabin crew insisted Bruck’s youngest daughter cover her nose and mouth.
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“I said I could try but then she was pulling it off,” Bruck told NBC New York.
“A few minutes later, they came to me and they told me that I have to gather my things and I have to get off the plane.”
When Bruck had booked the tickets, JetBlue’s mask policy was that “small children who cannot maintain a face covering are exempt”. However, by the time of the flight, this had changed to an advisory that anyone who cannot wear a mask “should postpone travel until this temporary requirement is no longer in place.”
Bruck refused to leave when asked by flight attendants, and other passengers came to her family’s defence, telling JetBlue staff that it was unfair to expect a two-year-old to wear a mask.
Video footage of the incident shows the situation escalating as passengers throughout the plane start shouting at JetBlue staff.
“Should I tie her hands? What should I do?” Bruck can be heard asking cabin crew as she attempts to put a mask on her daughter, who backs away and starts crying.
The entire flight was eventually forced remove their cabin baggage and deplane.
“They were horribly nasty, my kids were crying. Really traumatising,” said Bruck.
A spokesperson for JetBlue told The Independent: “During these unprecedented times, our first priority is to keep crewmembers and customers safe, and we’ve quickly introduced new safety policies and procedures throughout the pandemic.
“Specifically, our face covering policy was updated most recently on 10 August to ensure everyone is wearing a face covering – adults and children alike – to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Children age two and over must wear a face covering, consistent with CDC guidelines, which say ‘Masks should not be worn by children under the age of two.’
“Customers receive an email before their flight outlining the latest safety protocols and face covering policies. Our crew members are ready to assist customers in the airport and onboard who might need support. We have a flexible rebooking policy for those who are unable to meet this requirement, and customers who refuse to follow these standards after requests from crewmembers will be reviewed for further travel eligibility on JetBlue.”
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