MAILBAG: What Happened On Spirit Air Is Unacceptable

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As one of the thousands of Passover travelers preparing to make my way back home from Florida to the tri-state area, I started my trek this morning watching the frightening video of a family being removed from a Spirit Airlines flight from Orlando. The scene was all to familiar to Jewish travelers everywhere. Today it was an innocent maskless 2 year old eating a yogurt. Last month it was an 18 month old committing the same “offense.”

After publicly embarrassing the family by removing them and then everyone from the plane, Spirit finally came to their senses and let the “offending” 2 year old and her family back on the flight. Understanding the public relations nightmare unfolding, Spirit actually removed the complaining flight attendant to cheers from the passengers. Unfortunately the damage was done. Mothers of small children like myself saw the video of the now all-too- familiar scene, and were faced with our own anxiety as we boarded our various flights today. Would we be the next family singled out & humiliated for flying while Jewish? Thankfully that wasn’t our experience on JetBlue today. On the contrary.

[SHOCKER: Spirit Airlines Lies Through Their Teeth In Pathetic Statement Defending Actions Today [UPDATED]

Like everything else in life, it’s all about the people. Flight attendants can make or break one’s traveling experience, especially during covid. So as I boarded with my small children in tow, I kept reminding them how important it was for them to keep their masks on, while silently praying the flight crew was child friendly and understood the impossibility of negotiating with a 2 or 3 year old. The trip was uneventful, even pleasant. And for that I felt a sense of deep relief and thanks. Then I thought to myself, the world needs to know that these few instances of irrational overreaction from the flights crews of Spirit Air and Frontier are the exception and not the norm. Orthodox Jews aren’t doing anything wrong. My kids and dozens of others on our flight and thousands of flights everywhere acted exactly as young children do. They cried when they were hungry, ate when they were fed and parents did their best to comply with the often impossible flight rules while maintaining a semblance of calm.

[SPIRIT AIRLINES AGAIN: This Time They Threw A 4-Year-Old Autistic Child WITH A DOCTORS NOTE Off Flight For “No Mask”]

Our crew on JetBlue flight 2702 from Ft Lauderdale to JFK was terrific. They were nice, professional and most importantly understanding. Many members of my family and numerous friends who traveled today all did so without incident as well. What happened today on Spirit Air is shameful and the actions of the flight crew should be fully investigated. I have no doubt they will issue some sort of statement blaming the parents, the children or whomever. What we likely won’t see is anyone at Spirit take real responsibility for today’s display of unprofessional behavior.

[IS SPIRIT AIRLINES ANTI-SEMITIC? Another Two Jewish Passengers Get Banned From Airline – They Claim They Did Nothing]

Times are still scary for sure. But America is coming back. Traveling is still a business and customers have a right to expect to be treated fairly and with dignity. If Spirit Air wants our business, their actions today are a strange way to earn it. I say remember today the next time you book a flight. I certainly will.

Signed,

A paying customer

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. ujm,

    Your words are diatribe. The letter is actually very well written and on point.

    I too had a very pleasant fight with United, albeit not from FL and with minimal children on board. I will definitely say; I have flown with most domestic airlines-including Spirit and Frontier. These recurring incidents are making me think twice who to fly with going forward.

  2. the word “unacceptable” has only fairly recently become a commonly used word.
    in this context the word should not be used . actually it should be unacceptable to use by a frum yid.
    in fact the entire attitude is not a torah one. the first and foremost attitude is ,that this is from Hashem. period. hence the word “unacceptable” is not to be used.
    only after this fact is absorbed in ones consciousness, should a yid seek to explore what is the proper reaction- hishtadlus, if any, towards the airline.

  3. >> PUBLISH A LIST OF ANTISEMITIC AIRLINES

    Not Recommended for your safety:
    Flying Spirit without a mask
    Landing in Tehran on a Ukrainian airline
    Landing in North Korea
    Flying through Occupied Territories in Ukraine and Crimea
    Drinking tea on Siberian Airlines
    Flying between Syria and Iraq, while commanding terrorist forces
    Flying Indonesian airlines in unknown direction

  4. I too flew on a JetBlue Flight from FLL to JFK. However, although my flight was overall positive and uneventful, I need to comment about what transpired.

    Two frum families came on board with children over 2 not wearing masks. When requested by agents to mask the children, the parents stated that they are under 2. The agents replied that if they find out they are over 2, they will be removed from the plane. A couple minutes later, while in the PBB, one of the agents found the mother of the child and stated that her child is 3 years old (they looked up her birthday) and the child must wear a mask the entire flight. On a separate occasion, as the airplane door was about to close and everyone seated, the other gate agent came on board and found a frum family sitting next to me. The agent requested that they mask their child. The father first stated that he child was two and he does not need to wear a mask. A few seconds later he corrected himself and said that he is turning two next week. The agent then rattled off the child’s birthday and said we now he is over two, he needs to wear a mask. BH both of those children ended up wearing a mask for the rest (or most of the rest) of the plane and the flight was uneventful from there.

    However, I would like to comment about two things:
    1) It is not just Spirit, even JetBlue has “mask police”. Yes, we didn’t get thrown off (likely because both kids ended up wearing a mask) but the danger to was imminent.
    2) I believe the total disregard for truth and utter lying by frum people regarding their kid’s ages adds to the fuel of anti-Semitism and why they are upset at us. This was the one flight I was on and two separate frum families completely lied. If they would have just been honest, tried to mask as best as possible (especially when boarding), there would have been no issues. If all of us would make a true kiddush Hashem, not try to play games, not lie, have manners, not feel we are better than other in public etc then yes, there would be so anti-Semitism out there since that is what Hashem instituted but not nearly the same amount if we do our part. As much as we may not agree with the rules, when in public and on other’s property it is a chiyuv for us to.

    PLEASE NOTE: I am not saying that in situations where Jews got kicked off, that they did anything wrong. I wasn’t there and do not know the full story. I am just sharing my incident.

  5. @ JakeL people have free will to carry out the will of hashem or not to. if hashem wills something to happen to
    someone it will happen, but who will do it may depend on bechirah. thats the short but incomplete answer to your q. its a big subject. ive heard that rabbi a. tatz has written a book about this.

  6. Very well said Kind Kalman. Every airline is forbidden by Federal law from permitting a passenger to fly if said passenger is over two years of age and not wearing a mask covering the nose and mouth, unless there is a valid medical exemption. The law is clear. If you break the law, you may have to face the consequences. It is a bit like speeding; most of the time you get away with it; on the odd occasion you get caught. Then you have to pay the price. In the last Spirit case the mother suggested the flight attendant try and put a mask on her child then the father talked about getting his lawyer. Great ways to annoy people who are trying to do their job. They may not always succeed but they will sure not appreciate seemingly entitled Jews making a difficult job more difficult.