Family of 5 kicked off JetBlue flight in Fort Lauderdale seeks answers
Airline says family kicked off because of parents' behavior, not children
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A woman claims that she, her husband and three children were kicked off a JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale to New York on July 2 without any explanation.
The family's attorney, David Templer, said that his clients, Tamir Raanan and Mandy Ifrah, who live in Brooklyn, were heading home after attending a wedding when their 1-year-old daughter, Eden, began kicking a passenger's seat.
Ifrah said she apologized to the passenger, and they exchanged words before the passenger changed seats.
That's when a flight attendant came over to Ifrah's family and asked them to get off the plane, the family said in a media release.
"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 in an interview with Local 10 News.
JetBlue said that the adults in the family were making threats, and it was their actions that caused them to be taken off the plane.
"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. "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."
JetBlue said the family was "not removed due to the actions of their children."
"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 statement said.
Part of the exchange with the flight attendant in the plane was captured on video, as was their interaction at the gate. In the video, Raanan and Ifrah repeatedly ask for an explanation, and the flight attendant tells them they need to call the airline for further information.
A Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy stepped in shortly after that exchange and defused the situation.
"Ifrah said JetBlue told the family that they would be booked on a flight the next day, but they would need to find overnight accommodations," a media release sent on behalf of the family said. "However, JetBlue did not remove their luggage from the plane, leaving them without clothes and baby supplies."
The family claims when they arrived the next morning for their flight, a JetBlue representative told them that they were banned from all future flights while the incident is under investigation. The family also claims they weren't given a reason for the airline's decision.
In addition, the family said that their luggage was not in New York when they arrived home and that it took a week before their bags were returned.
As for JetBlue's account of what happened, Ifrah said it's false.
"That's not true at all," Ifrah said. "My baby must have been kicking the chair. I mean, she's, you know, at that time, she needs a bottle. She’s tired. She’s cranky."
Ifrah said she would simply like an apology from JetBlue.
"It was just embarrassing," Ifrah said. "It was horrible."
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