HATE IN THE AIR: Spirit Airways’ Steward Called Family “Those Retarded Jews” on Nightmare Flight

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When Chani and Yisroel of Boro Park checked in on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, for their Spirit Airlines flight #521 from Newark airport to fly to their vacation destination at Fort Lauderdale with their three daughters ⎼ ages 3, 2 and 1 month-old ⎼ all was normal with their check-in process. Upon arriving at the designated gate for their departure they requested permission from the gate agent to take their baby’s carriage onboard after demonstrating that it, in fact, converted into a car seat for the infant. Permission was granted, and thus they boarded the flight with their carriage and babies in tow without incident.

Once on the plane, as they were preparing for takeoff and already in their seats, a stewardess informed them that they could not have the car seat on the plane and that it must be removed ⎼ this despite their protestation that it had already been approved by the gate agent. The infant was unbuckled from her seat when the car seat was forcibly removed by a steward, all the while the other two daughters were left crying as this unfolded. A bad start to a flight that would only get worse.

During the flight, Yisroel joined his wife and three daughters in their three-seat row, taking the 2-year old on his lap. The steward ordered him back to his seat because regulations did not allow for five people to be seated in a single row, adding that there were not enough oxygen masks in the case of an emergency. Yisroel readily complied and returned to his seat without further incident.

At the flight’s end, an announcement was made for all passengers to remain seated as two police officers and two managers from the airlines came onboard to escort Chani, Yisroel and their three daughters off the plane as though they were criminals. They asked the police what crime had been committed and received no response other than from the airline manager who claimed they weren’t wearing seatbelts. Adding insult to grievous injury, the family was informed by the airline’s managers that they are no longer welcome on any Spirit Airlines flights in the future and that their return flight would not be honored; ‘find another flight home’ they were told, leaving the parents stunned and the young girls crying inconsolably.

An eyewitness on the same flight was also shocked by the way this family was treated and came forward stating he overheard the steward who was involved in the confrontation complaining to the other stewardesses about “those retarded Jews.”

“This insulting and denigrating anti-Semitic remark is inexcusable,” said former Assemblyman Dov Hikind. “This family was traumatized, and their family vacation ruined by the unprofessional behavior of the airline staff. The comment about ‘retarded Jews’ qualifies the steward for dismissal. Spirit has much explaining to do.”

Spirit spokesman Derek Dombrowski said the family have not yet contacted the airline, but that “records indicate that this guest ignored flight and ground crew instructions multiple times, beginning with the boarding process and continuing through landing.”

He said the airline will “launch an investigation and take these matters very seriously.”

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)




57 COMMENTS

  1. BH I have never flown spirit because they are the worse airline as they charge for everything & if flight get cancelled due to weather will send the passengers home on an eight hour bus ride instead of putting them on another flight. We don’t know the full story but if what is being reported is true Spirit has to fire those managers immediately & offer them a free flight for their whole family.

  2. There is no airline more worthy of being shut down than spirit, certainly a boycott is in order. Mean, horrible and now Jew hating as well, though definitely existed earlier. The stories don’t end.

  3. We learned many years ago, never to fly with spirit. Their crew are nasty to everyone and they are unreliable. Just not worth the aggravation! So, we agree, to fly with them, if have to be retarded!

  4. The airline and the stewardess should be sued or fired.
    Having said that, only a total ignorant loser takes Spirit Air. The same types that used to take Tower Air. With credit card mileage, points, Dans Deals, etc…one can travel on a normal airline when he wants, for a great price. To shlep from Brooklyn (pay tolls) to Newark in order to save 4 cents on some crappy airline makes no sense

  5. I learned long ago after my first and last Spirit flight that you get what you pay for. They are true JUNK. They overbook routinely and then tell the remaining passengers that they are late even when they are very much on time. So they collect double fare for the same seat. They are designed to be unable to ever get anyone to talk to by phone. STAY FAR AWAY FROM SPIRIT!!!!

  6. I have boycotted Spirit Airlines for years, recognizing that their cheaper fares come a severe cost. I flew on Spirit several times, and never had an experience that was anything but unpleasant. Service is poor, often rude. The extra charges for everything make sure that nothing is saved by choosing their cheaper fare.

    I suggest boycott.

  7. Well bh they’re gonna get enough money from a lawsuit or freebies from a settlement to travel ALOT.

    In this age of social media, you can’t get away with these things anymore.

  8. Were they pushing while the plane was stowed or were they trying to bring 17 bags in board? I’ve seen Jews acting really inappropriately on planes.

  9. I hope these flight people get sued and fired. Spirit is the worst airline. Even American Airlines is better. (I’m talking about domestic flights only. Never flew American Airlines international).

  10. As a frequent flyer with children, i would like to inform your readers that this not antisemitism. when you check in to a flight and they tell you that you can bring a car seat on, it means you can bring it until the door of the plane. you then must leave it by the tunnel. unless they paid for a seat to hold the car seat you cannot bring it onto the plane

  11. I’d like to echo lakewhut and boredsoul1994. We have no idea what happened, but we should all just be aware that we are held to a higher standard. Further, many of these travel websites seem to foster the idea of gaming the system, which has problems in its own right, but especially when the gamers don’t get what they thought they were getting, they can become shocked out of their complacency. Not saying any of this necessarily applies here, but it’s an issue generally.

  12. We have had so many awful experiences on spirit that we stopped flying them years ago. We heard from one of their agents that the agents receive a commission on extra fees they charge so they look for as many as they can and won’t waive it since its money straight out of their own pockets. Spirit doesn’t pay them well but they are assured of large commissions if they look for every infringement like overweight bags, extra carry ons, where other airlines will overlook mistakes or having luggage that’s a pound overweight. They’re out to zap you and are let down when they can’t because there goes their $$.

  13. Thanks for the article. I just booked yesterday 4 tickets and i cancelled it(still in the 24 hour cancellation) it today.
    I paid $245 more with United but worth the savings of aggravation .

  14. I don’t unserstand boredsoul1994 . A quick web search shows a whole bunch of sites about FAA approved infant car seats. To quote one such site: “Fortunately, many car seats on the market, except backless boosters, are approved for airplane travel.” Is one to assume that these are approved by FAA only up to the door of the plane? So we don’t know if the seat in question is specifically FAA approved (that is, if this was a “backless booster” it would not be allowed), but in any case the site also states:”The FAA does not require children under the age of 2 to be in a child restraint. They may be held on your lap instead, usually free of charge. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns parents that it’s much safer to use an FAA-approved car seat instead.” And how about the following quote:

    “US airlines are required to allow child restraint use for children under 2,”

    And the following is instrcutive:

    >
    FAQ #5: What happens if my car seat doesn’t actually fit in the plane seat?
    The FAA requires the airline to find an appropriately sized seat in the same service class. You may have to be separated from other family if this happens, or other passengers may have to move from their seats.

    FAQ #6: What if the flight attendant tells me that the car seat isn’t allowed or instructs me to install it incorrectly?
    Flight attendants screw up sometimes just like everyone else. They may tell you to put your rear-facing seat forward, for example, which is wrong.
    <

  15. What????
    it makes no sense to bring a carseat only to the door of the plane, there is no point of asking, or giving permission just to bring it to the gate.
    they should sue or at least file a complaint to spirit

  16. There is something missing to the story and because we are only hearing one side, it’s hard to determine the factual series of events. I’m sorry the family had a challenging, humiliating, and hurtful flight- no one should have to face such an experience when flying. With that said, I’d like to know if the children had their own purchased seats? Although FAA regulations allows a lap-seating option for children under age 24 months, if the flight is full then one has no legal or halachic right to have a car seat occupying an extra seat on the plane. Second, I was on a flight with my wife and lap-seat baby, and they advised us in advance that we will be moved to a different row because of another stranger’s lap-baby in the row (we were told that there wouldn’t be enough oxygen masks: we complied, no problem). Concluding, we don’t know all the perspectives of the story from all points of view, and/or if some exaggeration with exact details were created.

  17. I don’t know how it works with Spirit, but with many small airlines the gate agents are a third party company. Because of this there is sometimes confusion when they disagree with the flight attendants.
    It is a federal law to listen to the flight crew. Even when they are wrong, the captain will usually back them, as it will compromise the flight attendants safety if people will think they can get away with arguing with them.
    As the captains word is treated as law on a plane, there is not much you can do.

  18. The whole story sounds fishy.
    First, I personally dont agree with charidishe yiden running down to FL for winter vacation. It has become totally inappropriate down there! Arent there more appropriate places to go!
    Also, who shleps a 1 month old baby onto an airplane for no reason! Now that really is retarded!
    And a 1 month old doesnt get a seat on an airplane. An infant, if flying, gets a bassinet which is attached to the wall! Why would they bring a car seat onto an airplane!
    And I dont get the musical chairs thats is always played by people. The father sat here then there! Probably made a real commotion!

  19. Wow, @the little i know, thanks for the title of “ignorant loser.”

    Actually, I fly Spirit very often. I’ve flown with them – with my wife and children – literally dozens of times over the years. We have never had a problem. Their staff is no less courteous than the staff on any other airline we’ve used, including JetBlue, Southwest, American, Delta and others.

    It’s true that they give less legroom, but, then, you pay less for the flight. You can look at their “pay as you go” scheme as “nickel and diming,” but if you take the time to figure out what you really need, you can still get much cheaper flights with them, including the cost of luggage and drinks.

    It is true that there are only 4 oxygen masks in each row, so they will not allow more than one lap-child per row. This is on all airlines, and for your children’s safety.

    I’m not saying these people were not mistreated, or that they were; I wasn’t there. Certainly, the reported comment is unacceptable.

    But I feel bad for people like Reb Yossel, who may have just paid an extra $245 to get beat up and dragged off the plane by a United flight attendant instead of getting insulted by someone at Spirit.

  20. It’s always interesting to see the people who are always so quick to defend the aggressors. Why is it that there are some among us that will always try to play things down, neah it’s not Anti- Semitism, it’s just that we are “retarded Jews”? Stand up for your religion once and for all! Stop being so embarrassed of your beautiful heritage. I too have flown plenty and know that at times we can be SEEN as a disturbance but that has nothing to do with our religion, any human being traveling with several young children may find it overwhelming. We belong believing our brother and sister’s version of this story until PROVEN otherwise. A Goy has zero credibility, especially when it is one of these filthy Spirit staff.

  21. I’ve never heard of “Spirit Airlines” before, but in any case I hope we can get some external confirmation of the details of this case, because if so definitely we can speak collectively about the mistreatment that occurred.

  22. The only thing that was done wrong was what the flight attendant reportedly said.
    Whether he actually said it or not, if other news agencies start publishing the story, he will probably be fired to try to ease the tension, even if he is actually innocent. That’s what happened with the American Airlines stroller incident.

    Otherwise, everyone acted normally. As I said in my previous comment, many times there is a miscommunication between the gate agents and the flight attendants. The article says the car seat was forcibly removed, but usually these things are blown out of proportion. It seems to me that everything that the crew asked the family to do, they did without too much protest, causing a Kiddush Hashem. I’m basing this off the fact that by every other airline incident (United, American stroller incident…) after doing a little research it comes out that the airline did nothing wrong, but the damage was already done.
    The only news worthy item here is what the flight attendant said.

    @catchyourself
    In the United incident, it wasn’t a flight attendant, it was airport security. They told him he was under arrest and he resisted, so they did what any other cop would do, which was to forcibly arrest him.

  23. It seems we are only hearing one side of the story, but one thing I do know is that Evil Spirit has the cruelest, most sadistic employees I’ve ever experienced from any airline, and I am willing to pay extra just to avoid dealing with their deceptive practices and other shenanigans.

  24. @Cessna172
    I didn’t know that, but it doesn’t change my broader point which was that things like this happen on many airlines.

    @Curiosity, et al
    I don’t know what has happened to you, but my experience is completely different from what you describe. In any case, I don’t think there is anything deceptive about Spirit’s pricing scheme. They are very upfront about everything they charge for and what they charge for it. There are no hidden fees or tricky language.

    To all those screaming to boycott Spirit, please don’t! You would raise my travel costs by quite a lot, which I can not afford. Anyway, if you’re going to start boycotting every company with anti-Semitic employees, life will get very difficult.

  25. To georgeg: don’t know why you didn’t understand boredsoul, he explained it very clearly in his posting – “unless they paid for a seat to hold the car seat you cannot bring it onto the plane”. To say that there are FAA approved carseats makes no difference here. If they didn’t pay for a seat on the plane for their 1 mo. old baby then they cannot bring the carseat aboard the flight.

  26. actually my wife and I flew Spirit once. We had a lousy time too. Afterwards people told us that it is known to be a really cramped and lousy service airline.

  27. “Viral video NYPD TOW CAR”

    The way we behave in Boro Park causes the way we are treated elsewhere.

    Threats like “this is going on YouTube” shows where some of us are up to.
    Our world should be distant from theirs.
    Has the officer got some private agenda? Isn’t this what he gets his salary for? Which number do we dial for help when we are attacked?
    איזה בושה איזה כלימה
    When will people wake up to understand that however comfi we may feel we are UNFORTUNATELY still in גלות?
    Let’s keep a low profile as יעקב אבינו taught us.

  28. Spirit is a great airline. Their low fares make it affordable for families to fly. They have improved their ontime performance to be one of the best in the nation and their staff is friendly and corteous. Their customer service has also improved all while keeping their fares extremely low. Many frum families fly Spirit and have had many positive experiences. This story is troubling but it is in no way indicative of their normal standards of service.

  29. I have no idea about the detail of this case, but my take on some of the comments:1) Florida is a great place to come for vacation. (Or to live). One need be anywhere near a beach to enjoy our great weather. Boca Raton is particularly nice and the community is not located anywhere near a beach.
    2) Car seats must be FAA approved to be used on a plane. Check for a picture of an airplane on the label. (Probably never noticed that before!) not all have, most do. Car seat must also be unexpired. Yes all car seats have a printed expiration date (you learn new things every day!) probably the only time anyone will ever check the expiration date on your car seat. 3) I have flown spirit and many other airlines many many times. In my experience, the later in the day, the more likely that the flight will be delayed, there are less flexible, have smaller seats and legroom, and more strict on baggage than most, but overall about the same as all others. Just as we wouldn’t want anyone stereotyping us, we should not stereotype all Spirit flight attendents based on the acts of one. 4) car seats may only be used on spirit if you purchased a seat for the child. Even if the child is under 2. 5) even if there is an extra or open seat, Spirit does not allow you to switch seats unless you pay for the change fee, this is because they charge extra for certain seats.

  30. Workingmom, I share your indignation. I wouldn’t like it either if i ” accidentally ” brought too many carryons on the plane and the airline actually enforced the rules! Blaming it on commissions doesn’t excuse your breaking the rules

  31. > more accurate

    Let me put it this way. The article mentions nothing about the flight attendant claiming they needed a ticket. The article states that the attendants simply did not allow it but without giving a reason.

    The source of this story seems to be New York Post. And as noted here too, there was a witness here to the events. And Yahoo News reports that Yahoo Lifestyle received a reply from the airline representative Derek Dombrowski which it quotes, apparently in full. Nothing is mentioned about this hypothetical missing ticket.

    And in the end, the final question is just why were the police called in for at the end of the flight? You think police are called for a missing ticket for a baby?

    While searching this story, I found the Denver news site with a story dated in 2016. Someone named Paramjit Parmar brought a car seat on a Spirit plane. He too was escorted off the plane by police. The airline had no problem then in explaining explicitly that the passenger wouldn’t move the car seat to an appropriate location designated by airline policy and that the passenger physically struck the flight attendant. There are other stories of police as well, nearly all because of a physical attack, but in any case the airline explained clearly why police were called. How come no clear explanation is given in this case (a generic “didn’t listen” hardly justifies armed police).

  32. I’m going to be a Peter so Lord forgive me, BUT…*no* one is going to treat God’s precious people, the Jews, like that and get away with it. God is watching. I, as a Gentile, love the Jews.

  33. I have usually had no problem flying Spirit on the few occasions I did. After the last flight I took on Spirit I was getting off the plane and another woman was collecting her stroller that had been checked at the plane, and one of the tires was broken and unusable. The Spirit attendant told her they are not responsible for breaking passengers’ items and the woman had to wheel her stroller with the broken tire. I don’t know if she ever got reimbursed for that.

  34. boredsoul1994,

    I’m not sure what you mean when you say you are a frequent flier, but I myself am not a frequent flier, and on several occasions the gate agents have let me bring a car seat onto the plane even though I had not paid for a ticket for the baby.

  35. @georgeg
    And in the end, the final question is just why were the police called in for at the end of the flight? You think police are called for a missing ticket for a baby? While searching this story, I found the Denver news site with a story dated in 2016. Someone named Paramjit Parmar brought a car seat on a Spirit plane. He too was escorted off the plane by police.

    The YWN article mentions nothing about the police being called or the family being escorted off the plane.
    What do you mean by “he too was escorted off by police”.
    The article says “Yisroel readily complied and returned to his seat without further incident.”

  36. Yankelle,

    I have to say that you are a complete disgrace for saying that there were 2 sides to the story, how do you know what happened??? were you on that flight??? did you see what happened??? do you know any of the parents??? from what you said the answer sounds like a big fat NO!. Poor family, all they wanted to do was go on holiday and they get put through this hell, any NORMAL person with an ounce of sense or feeling would feel very sorry for them. Shame on You!

  37. Ummm. Assuming the carseat is FAA approved, Spirit’s policies allow it on the plane as documented here https://customersupport.spirit.com/hc/en-us/articles/202096526-Can-I-bring-my-child-s-car-seat-and-or-stroller-onboard-

    BTW, WORST AIRLINE EVER. We flew once years ago, had a horrible experience and never flew again. I dont care how cheap they are.

    Can I bring my child’s car seat and/or stroller onboard?
    We will happily check one stroller and one car seat per child for no extra cost at the ticket counter. If you are traveling with two children, you are more than welcome to check a double stroller instead. You may also check these items at the gate. We’ll have them waiting for you in your arrival city when you get off the aircraft.

    You’re welcome to bring an FAA-approved child restraint system (car seat) or an FAA-approved Child Harness Device (CARES) onboard as long as a separate seat has been purchased for the child. We will do our best to reseat you to an open seat (not including our Big Front Seats) if the car seat is too large for a regular seat.

    Some FAA approved car seats may not always fit in certain Spirit Airlines aircraft seats. Car seats may not be accommodated in any seat equipped with an inflatable seat belt. Additionally, car seats may not be secured in an exit seat or the row before or after the exit seats. Keep in mind that our Big Front Seats are a premium product and are available for an additional charge.

  38. I was under the impression that spirit upped their game over the past couple years. Clearly my impression was WRONG. Yimach shema vezichra I hope this disgusting piece of dirt stewardess gets fired and never finds a job again.

  39. Spirit is a horrible airline, but a lot about the story doesn’t make sense.

    1. What carriage converts to a car seat? Perhaps it held the car seat, but then it would need to be left up front.

    2. The 2 girls each needed a ticket. The article doesn’t say that bought one for the baby/ car seat, so they probably tried to put the baby in a spot and let the 2 yr old sit on mom’s lap (illegal- child must be under 24 mos), or they let the little girls share a seat and seatbelt (also illegal). Dad moving up with the 2 yr old on his lap would also be illegal.

    Please, complain about the steward. No one making derogatory comments should be in that role. But dont blame the whole airline (and if you do, tell them why so they hire/ train better stewards in the future).

  40. wdyaSayen – You are entitled to bring a FAA approved car seat if you paid for the seat but not for a lap child. If the child is under 2 and traveling as a lap child there is no seat for the carseat. Your post clarifies spirit seat policy but may be totally irrelevant to the issue at hand.

  41. > Cessna172
    > The YWN article mentions nothing about the police being called or the family being escorted off the plane.

    The YWN article in front of me states the following:

    “At the flight’s end, an announcement was made for all passengers to remain seated as two police officers and two managers from the airlines came onboard to escort Chani, Yisroel and their three daughters off the plane as though they were criminals. “

  42. Some on here judge people for flying with a one month old baby or for flying to Florida , seems cruel considering one can be traveling to meet with family etc
    There are always two or more sides to each story there is nothing wrong stating that there are two facts to every story.
    I often hear yeshiva guys talking negatively about other minorities in between themselves so it would be hard to believe that after an upsetting flight an attendant wouldn’t make such comments in private , lesson to be learned don’t allow your kids or their Rabbeim to make derrogatory comments about other minorities. She was overheard that’s the surprising part.
    I think the fact that we have more toddlers than the average family often makes us known as bad fliers.
    I’m surprised no one filmed this incident , if the Jews were been rude to the attendant this would have likely had been filmed …
    we always have to behave better than others ..
    Maybe a bit unrelated but a bit related , I see way too many frum woman using their cellphones while driving , I don’t see that as often with goyim. There seems to be a certain mentality that we can outsmart safety regulations because we know better.. of course is not everyone but we do have some “minhagim” in how we see rules in the secular society. Is dangerous and that’s why I bring it up.
    People like people to be like themselves so I think it will be hard to get rid of judgments.. that doesn’t not mean the attendant should not be punished if she in fact showed the hatred portrayed here

  43. Mistykins,

    There is definitely at least one stroller that converts to a car seat and it’s very popular these days. It’s called a Doona (Did I spell that right??). I don’t have it and I’m sure there are others as well.

  44. This is sop for this pathetic airline. Maybe this will be the straw that breaks the camels back and the government will finally do something about it

  45. To Binyanadead : what is the grandparents live in Fort L. and are going to help this family? isnt that enough a reason to go? Do you have a problem with charedim mobility? We cannot tranvel? Are you suggesting getohs again? You self hating Jew