Spirit Airlines kicks Jewish family off plane, then allows them back on following mask altercation

Spirit Airlines

Gabe Friedman

(JTA) — Spirit Airlines kicked a Jewish family off a flight when their 2-year-old child was seen not wearing her mask, spurring major criticism on social media.

The budget airline said it was following federally mandated rules, which requires passengers 2 and older to wear masks at all times, except when eating, drinking or taking medicine.

Videos show the family, whose father wears a kippah, all wearing masks except for the child, who appeared to be eating.

The entire plane was deboarded, which Spirit told Business Insider was standard protocol, then reboarded, including the Jewish family in question. The only person who did not rejoin the flight was an attendant — he was the the person to flag the child’s mask wearing, according to someone filming a video in the aftermath of the incident.

The Orthodox site Yeshiva World News reported last month that Spirit banned an Orthodox Florida couple from future flights three weeks after they flew the airline from New York in January. The couple claimed they wore masks the entire flight and had no altercations on board.

Frontier Airlines landed in similarly hot water in March for kicking a Hasidic family off a flight over mask compliance. The family claimed that they were all wearing masks except for an 18-month-old baby, and the Anti-Defamation League called for an investigation of the incident.