An Israeli expat family said they were removed from a JetBlue flight last month after their 1-year-old daughter kicked the back of the seat in front of her.
In an interview with the New York Post on Wednesday, Brooklyn couple Mandy Ifrah and Tamir Raanan said they were returning home with their three daughters from a wedding in Florida when their toddler kicked the seat in front of them.
“She is about to have a bottle and kicked the lady in front of us,” Ifrah said. “The lady huffed and puffed. She got up and said, ‘You should hold your baby’s feet.’ I said, ‘She is a baby — what would you like me to do? I’m sorry, and I am trying my best to control the situation right now.'”
After the passenger moved to a nearby empty seat, Ifrah said she believed that the matter was over, but the plane returned to the gate and a supervisor for the airliner came to escort them off the plane.
In video of the incident filmed by the family, the JetBlue employee repeatedly asks the family to follow him off the plane in order to discuss the matter, while Ifrah can be heard saying, “I am not taking my kids off this plane” and “This is ridiculous.”
Ifrah also yells in the video that the passenger in front of her said, “You should tie your kid’s feet.”
In a separate video shot in the boarding area after the family had been removed from the plane, the supervisor — who identifies himself as Armando Gonzalez — refuses to say why the family was initially asked to speak with him outside of the plane, telling them only, “You were removed from the airplane because you did not cooperate with me” and that “if you want to get more information about the incident call 1-800-JetBlue.”
He tells the family later on in the video that “your actions provoked” the decision to remove them from the plane.
Police officers at the boarding gate later say to the family that, right or wrong, the JetBlue decision is final and that if they want they can pursue legal recourse, while Ifrah yells in the background, “It’s disgusting.”
Despite the family’s assertion of having been removed from the plane because their toddler kicked the seat, JetBlue told the New York Post that the booting came because of “physical threats and profanities” against the other woman.
“The aircraft door was reopened, and our airports team politely asked the customers to step off to discuss the situation,” the airline said.
“The customers refused repeated requests, and our crewmembers deplaned the entire aircraft. Law enforcement escorted [the family] out of the gate area, and we provided a refund,” it added.
A lawyer for the family said that since the incident the family has received a number of hate-filled messages and JetBlue has been trying to “assassinate the character of the family.”
“They have been getting messages on Facebook and emails telling them they’re scum, they’re pieces of s—t and that they should leave the country,” David Templer told the New York Post.
“This is just JetBlue’s after-the-fact attempt to distract from the incident and assassinate the character of a family of five who were abandoned — after being humiliated — without their luggage.”
Templer also said that the family is considering filing a lawsuit for defamation of character and infliction of emotional distress and that Raanan has been blacklisted by the airline.