Jewish Family Kicked Off Spirit Airlines Flight

Later allowed back on, in mask snafu
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2021 3:15 AM CDT
Jewish Family Kicked Off Spirit Airlines Flight
A Spirit Airlines Airbus A320 takes off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

A family returning to New Jersey after celebrating Passover in Florida was briefly kicked off a Spirit Airlines flight Monday after a mask incident. In a confrontation caught on video by another passenger, a flight attendant can be seen telling Ari and Avital Eisenberg they need to deplane due to "non-compliance." The couple is wearing masks in the video other than moments where Ari Eisenberg briefly pulls his down to talk, and fellow passengers speak up to support them. But their newly 2-year-old daughter, sitting on a pregnant Avital Eisenberg's lap eating yogurt, is not wearing a face covering. Their 7-year-old son, who has special needs, cannot be seen in the video; the couple tells Fox News they promised to do their best to keep his face covering on, but that he has seizures that can be brought on by his mouth being covered.

The family was eventually allowed back on the flight. (There are some reports that all passengers were made to deplane, as well as some reports that the flight attendant involved did not get back on the plane.) In an initial statement after the incident, Spirit Airlines said the adults had not complied with mask requirements, but later changed the wording to say there had been "compliance issues with the federal mask requirement." The airline has also said the adults were out of compliance prior to videos being filmed. Only children under the age of 2 are exempt from the airline's mask policy, but masks are allowed to be removed while eating or drinking, and some exceptions can be made for travelers with special needs. Through a lawyer, the family has publicly asked Spirit to apologize, the Asbury Park Press reports. (Read more Spirit Airlines stories.)

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