A Brooklyn, N.Y., family claims they were kicked off a JetBlue flight after their 1-year-old daughter kicked a passenger’s seat, but the airline says the family was asked to leave the plane after “a verbal altercation that included physical threats and profanities” following the incident.
On July 2, Tamir Raanan and Mandy Ifrah were returning to New York from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., when their daughter, Eden, began kicking another passenger’s seat, David Templer, the couples’ attorney, first told Local 10 News. While the incident occurred at the beginning of the month, the family’s story began gaining attention online this week.
Ifrah said she apologized to the passenger, but the two “exchanged words” before the passenger moved to a different seat, according to Local 10 News. Shortly after, a flight attendant approached the family and told them to get off the plane. A video was later posted showing the mother’s exchange with the flight attendant.
“I need to get back to New York. I need my kids back home,” Ifrah says off-camera. “This is ridiculous … I’m not getting off the plane. I have three kids. Where do you want me to go?”
After the family refused to deplane, the aircraft returned to the gate, Ifrah continued.
“The plane, at that point, just turns back around, goes back to the gate and security from JetBlue gets onto the flight and tells me and my family and I to grab our things and get off the plane,” Ifrah said, according to the report.
A Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy eventually intervened in the dispute, according to Local 10 News.
While JetBlue confirmed to the Local 10 News that the family had been removed from the flight, a spokesperson for the airline said that they were asked to deplane because both Raanan and Ifrah were reportedly making threats. They were not removed “due to the actions of their children,” JetBlue told Fortune.
“After a verbal altercation that included physical threats and profanities against a nearby customer, the aircraft door was reopened and our airports team politely asked the customers to step off to discuss the situation,” JetBlue said in a statement to Fortune. “The customers refused repeated requests and our crew members deplaned the entire aircraft. Law enforcement escorted them out of the gate area and we provided a refund.”
“We are investigating whether the customers’ behavior warrants restrictions on JetBlue travel, and we thank our crew members for their professional handling of this unfortunate incident,” the airline continued.
The family was told to find overnight accommodations before taking their re-booked flight the next morning, but JetBlue didn’t unload their luggage from the plane, leaving the family without clothes or baby supplies, according to the report. And when they arrived the next morning for their flight, they were informed they were banned from all future flights while the airline is investigating the incident, the family said.
Ifrah has continued to dispute JetBlue’s account of the altercation. It’s not clear if the family plans to take legal action against the airline.