“She’s just 2-years-old!” one passenger yelled. The scene had already escalated but now the entire flight was watching.
People leaned over their seats, phones out and filming. A few people had stepped up to defend the New York family after the JetBlue flight gave a startling ultimatum that would affect multiple customers.
39-year-old Bruck remembered how happy her children were when she told them they could finally go to Florida.
Plans had changed or were cancelled so often because of lockdown. They had collected plenty of memories and souvenirs. But if she had known what was coming on the flight home, she would have planned something entirely different.
It started at the airport. One airport employee came up and said her 2-year-old would have to put on a mask.
She put one on and it was enough to make them nod and walk away and she breathed a sigh of relief. But then her daughter ripped it off and cried.
Next was getting past the JetBlue counter.
The woman that took their tickets gave a sour look to her child and gave a comment about CDC guidelines and their customer service emails. “But she’s just a baby,” Bruck said. The woman rolled her eyes and handed over the boarding passes.
Security was thankfully a breeze. No one said a thing and she hoped the rest of the way back would be the same.
Her children shared stories of the holiday all the way into the plane. The calm quickly broke as a staff member stopped beside them and looked at her daughter.
“She needs to wear a mask.” Bruck tried to explain but only a few syllables came out before she was rudely interrupted.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy. She has to.” The New York mom sighed and tried again, sliding the fabric cover of the little girl’s face as she sucked on her soother. The tears started again.
Like every time before, it was gripped by little fingers and thrown away. Maybe they would understand?
“Please, just let us get home,” Bruck thought. “Please just ignore us.” People around them stowed their luggage and took their seats. The staff member returned … looking much more annoyed. This was bad.
“I told you once. I’m not going to tell you again.”
It was one last attempt with the same result, but now the mom had enough. “What am I supposed to do? Should I tie her hands or feet?” How was she supposed to force a baby? The next part left her in an utter state of shock.
“We need you to come off of the plane with us now.” Bruck stared in confusion.
The woman couldn’t be serious. However, when she tried to speak, the staff became more aggressive and raise their voices. “Get off the plane.” Other passengers started to take notice and break out their phones. Her eldest was also filming.
Every passenger around them tried to stick up for the family.
“She’s 2-years-old! It’s on your website!” Around her people yelled while her children cried and she felt the shaking in her body build and her own tears come. The family of six was escorted off the plane. …But they weren’t alone.
One woman, Chardette Poinsette, tried to stick up for the family as well.
But JetBlue labeled them as being “being uncooperative” and forced them off as well. The families stood by the gate – some crying, others confused, and the adult fuming. How would they get home? As for the airline, their response was just as surprising.
The company apologized but stuck by their updated August 10th policy of “All travelers 2 years and older must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their journey.”
Despite the protests for other passengers to take to social media. It made no difference. There was still the matter of getting home.
“We’re giving you a refund,” the staff member said.
“Are you going to kick us off that flight too if she refuses to wear a mask?! You people need to be retrained on how to handle this and what the rules are!” she cried. The suborn JetBlue wouldn’t budge in their stance and doubled down.
“All customers receive an email before the flight” that explains their rules.
They also say that other airlines have similar rules. Even with a refund, everyone knows it can be a pain to reschedule a flight, especially with six exhausted (and now traumatized) children in tow. The shaken mom hasn’t given up.
Bruck is currently considering legal action against JetBlue regarding her family’s inexcusable treatment.
They were “nothing but bullies” who treated her and her family “inhumanely”. She has also nixed any and all travel plans for the foreseeable future while the world deals with the pandemic. Her kids just can’t take anymore.