Entire flight deplaned over ‘maskless toddler’

Airline has disputed the claims and said it was the parents who were not adhering to a mask mandate

Shweta Sharma
Tuesday 06 April 2021 16:35 BST
Family asked to deboard plane over maskless toddler

An entire flight was briefly deplaned amid chaotic scenes in the US after a family and flight attendant got embroiled in an argument, reportedly over a maskless toddler, though the airline has disputed the family’s claims.

The Spirit Airlines flight from Orlando to Atlantic City on Monday was eventually allowed to take off along with the family at the centre of the disagreement, after it was delayed for about two hours.

According to videos (credit to Lakewood News Network) that have been widely shared on Twitter, a flight attendant asked a family of four to disembark the flight over mask non-compliance.

Both the parents were seen wearing masks in the videos, though the father is seen removing his face-covering at one point. They can be seen asking the flight attendant why action is being taken against them, given they are both wearing masks.

The attendant reportedly pointed at the 2-year-old child, who was eating in her mother’s lap. When the mother asked, “The baby?” she is said to have nodded and said “Yes”.

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Another passenger on the flight pointed out that other children are also seen not wearing masks.

The airline disputed the claims of the family, saying they were asked to deboard the plane as the parents themselves were not complying with the mask policy, not because of the child, Newsweek reported.

It said Spirit follows standard protocol in the airline industry to deboard the entire plane in case a passenger is not following Covid protocols. The airline acknowledged that the entire plane was deplaned after the family refused to leave.

The videos of the incident went viral on social media. At one point, the parents can be seen arguing that their daughter just turned two.

The flight attendant then leaves after saying she will have to call the police.

In another video the woman said she is "seven months pregnant with a special-needs kid on a flight, trying to get [a mask] on her. She’s refusing to keep it on but we’ll all have to be kicked off."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children two years old and above should wear a mask in public places or around other people.

The passengers eventually boarded the plane and the flight took off to the scheduled destination.

The flight attendant who got involved in the argument did not continue her shift on the flight and was deboarded. The airline said she left due to a staffing decision after the flight was delayed by two hours.

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