A Brooklyn mother traveling alone with her six children was kicked off a JetBlue flight in Florida on Wednesday afternoon because her two-year-old daughter would not wear a mask.
Chaya Bruck told New York Daily News she was ordered off the flight despite her desperate attempts to explain to flight attendants that she would try to get her daughter Dina to wear the mask but she had believed the little girl was exempt.
Other travelers rushed to her defense but when the toddler still wouldn’t co-operate, all passengers were then asked to leave the flight.
Bruck remained stranded in Florida Wednesday afternoon after the ‘traumatizing’ experience as her husband threatens to sue the airline.
A desperate and teary Bruck is seen trying to put a mask on her two-year-old in the video
A JetBlue staff member tells Bruck that she and her family must leave the flight because her daughter is two or older and so it is airline policy she wears a mask on the aircraft
Bruck was traveling back to New York City via a Newark-bound flight from Orlando when she was approached by flight attendants and told her family must leave the plane because her youngest daughter was maskless.
All her other five older children were wearing masks but she argued Dina was too young to wear one.
‘It was horrible, the whole experience was traumatizing,’ Bruck said. ‘I was trying very hard…(The other children) were wearing their masks with their noses covered.
‘It says (on JetBlue’s website) that a child who cannot wear a mask does not have to wear a mask. I tried to tell them this, but they didn’t care…They wanted me off the plane.
‘I wasn’t making any trouble,’ she added. ‘Why did we have to experience such a thing?…I am a woman flying alone with six children…They didn’t care.’
She claims that the incident stemmed from the first flight she took with her children to Orlando ten days ago.
She said that one of the attendants on that flight argued with her then about Dina wearing a face covering and that he was also on Wednesday’s flight.
‘The minute he saw me today, he recognized me,’ Bruck said. ‘I heard him tell the other stewardesses about me.
‘They came over to me and told me my daughter was 3 years old,’ she added. ‘I told them she’s 2…I know how old my child is, she’s going to be 3 in September.’
The run-in with airline staff was filmed by several other angry passengers who were appalled that the young girl was being forced to wear a mask and that they then had to leave the plane.
One video filmed by a person sitting in the same row as Bruck shows her pleading through tears with staff to allow her to stay on the plane with her children and saying that she will try to keep the mask on her daughter
‘I can try … you do realize she’s 2,’ she asked the air stewardess.
‘I do and also its not something that we can excuse,’ the woman responds.
‘So what should I do? Should I hold her hands?’ she asks as she tries to get the mask on her crying daughter while staff tell her that it’s too late and she must leave the plane.
Passengers filmed the incident and rushed to Bruck’s defense
Other angered passengers filmed the flight crew as they were forced to get off the flight
‘I paid for this flight, these are my seats and I have six kids, I’m not gonna go anywhere,’ Bruck hits back.
Further shouting erupts as the little girl screams and a man sitting across the row begins to argue. Passengers sitting around them shout out in defense of Bruck and her family and says the little girl is too young to be forced to wear a mask.
‘Leave her alone!’ they are heard saying.
‘(The other passengers) were sticking up for me….All of my kids were crying. I was shaking…It was inhumane,’ Brruck said of the incident.
‘They were really nasty,’ passenger Charzette Poinsett told Daily News.
‘(Bruck) said, “I’m going to get her to put the mask on” and that wasn’t enough for them.’
‘I understand that, there is zero tolerance,’ the attendant is heard telling the other passengers in one of the videos. ‘We have to wear face covers. It’s already too late.’
The staff members adds that the airline policy says children two or over must wear masks meaning toddler Dina was old enough to have to comply.
Bruck continued her argument with JetBlue staff in the terminal. She claimed the policy said that if children were too young, they didn’t have to wear a mask. The staff member disagreed
JetBlue mask policy on its website as of Wednesday evening after the incident
A press release on face masks issued by JetBlue on August 10
JetBlue’s previous April statement said that small children were exempt from the policy
She then walks off and further video for another passenger shows how all onboard were then asked to leave the plane by the captain.
One inside the terminal, the staff member and Bruck are heard discussion he incident further while shouting breaks out among the other passengers angered at being forced to get off the plane.
Bruck is heard arguing that the JetBlue website said that if a child is too young to wear a masks, then they don’t have to.
‘It does’t say that,’ the airline employee claims.
‘Yes, it does!’ Bruck claps back and begins to walk off with her children in tow.
According to the JetBlue website earlier on Wednesday, ‘small children who are not able to maintain a face covering are exempt from this requirement’.
According to New York Daily New, however, the airline updated its website policy at 2pm Wednesday, less than an hour after Bruck’s flight had been scheduled to take off.
It now notes that ‘all travelers 2 years and older must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their journey’.
The airline did begin to implement a stricter face mask policy on its flights from earlier in August.
According to a press release issued on August 10, ‘JetBlue has implemented a face covering policy that requires all crewmembers and customers 2 years and older maintain a proper face covering (without vents or exhalation valves) during their entire travel journey’.
‘Effective August 10, face covering exemptions for any reason will also no longer be provided,’ it adds.
The policy that stated small children were exempt was released on April 27.
Bruck’s husband told The Yeshiva World that he now plans to retain a lawyer and will be filing a federal lawsuit against JetBlue.