Flight Attendant Removed After Taking Two Year Old To Task Over Mask

On a Spirit Airlines flight on Monday from Orlando to New York, a family was kicked off when their two year old, who was eating yogurt, removed their mask.

The mother of the two year old girl is seven months’ pregnant, and their other child – traveling with them – is special needs.

Here’s a video of the family walking off the plane, including their disabled child.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about this incident was that an hour after everyone was deplaned in order to remove the mask offending two year old the entire group of passengers was allowed back on the plane – including the family whose two year old was caught eating. Everyone returned, that is, except reportedly the crewmember who made an issue of the two year old’s mask in the first place.

Numerous two year olds have been kicked off of flights when they had difficulty maintaining their masks. This is now a federal regulation but many of these incidents occurred when it was merely an airline rule that two year olds had to wear masks on planes.

However we’ve even seen one airline remove an 18 month old over failure to wear a mask even though it’s not required (nor advisable, according to the CDC) and eating is considered a justifiable reason to temporarily remove a mask (some have tried to milk this exception).

While mask wearing does seem to provide some protection, and I have favored mask wearing since the beginning of the pandemic, its benefits are frequently exaggerated. And while studies of this issue continue, significant evidence suggests that very young children do not spread the virus nearly as often as older children or adults. When there’s enough vaccine so that anyone who wants a shot can get one, we should lift mask rules.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It’s a good thing there are flight attendants who are so devoted to ensuring compliance by two-year old kids. Without diligent mask enforcement, these kids will grow up learning to disrespect authority and flout the law. And before long, these rule-breaking kids of today will become the hardened criminals of tomorrow.

    We’re so fortunate to have flight attendants with the constitution of RoboCop.

  2. The CDC is calling for an end to hygiene theater, by noting that this virus causing Covid-19 is rarely spread by contaminated surface contact.

    Hopefully, after US vaccination levels are high, the mask requirement for young children can become history along with the hygiene theater.

  3. Requiring a 2 or 3 year-old to do anything is a farce. I’m flying United with my family in May to a family member’s wedding. My wife and I are fully vaccinated and I’m pretty sure our independently minded 3 year-old is going to get us banned for life. Do they expect me to use a straight jacket? Because that’s the only way to force a 3 year-old to comply with this terrible expectation.

  4. How can anyone watch this and think that this was the right thing to. Are we done with this foolishness yet? F/A’s are the cause of 95% of problems aboard airplanes. Also, you can just feel the looks of disgust on both those cops faces after being called for this bullshit. PS…I know both those cops. Keep telling yourselves that is the way forward!

  5. Put the little kids and their families in the back with an adequate plastic or otherwise durable curtain and let them take their darn masks off. THe FA’s are NOT the problem, they are only forced into being enforcers of regulations meant to protect the majority, ie the rest of us for which I for one, am grateful. Some heroes DO fly! I was expecting a bigger issue to be made re the fact that mom was 7 months pregnant with a disabled child. Doesn’t give her a pass on the rules for all. If they couldn’t comply they shouldn’t fly. But the airlines COULD make it a little easier.

  6. Flight attendant was wrong and should be fired but the dad was also an idiot, he pulled his mask down every time he spoke and should be banned for life as a result.

  7. @ Robin Rosner: Great comment and I couldn’t agree with you more. I don’t have kid, but the situation is so simple: Right before the boarding starts, give your 3 or 4 year-old child some sleeping syrup. Then the parents can put the mask on their child for the rest of the flight. How hard is that? Feel free to comment but please do not curse.

  8. They are not a joke. THere are surges because of ignorant, uninformed or stupid people who refuse to wear them and take other reasonable precautions and because of people who think two year olds on an airplane should be exempt or no one has to take precautions with them among other things

  9. Thanks T, though I don’t particularly agree with sedating kids to fly. This could be a problem god forbid in an emergency when the child might need to follow directions (not that the adults all would either)I do not have a 2 legged child either, but if I did I would expect to have us comply or not fly. I am considerate of others as well as myself, at least I strive to be. The FA’s really don’t have much in the way of options and Chris: Let’s see how fast you evacuate a plane in an emergency. Those FA’s are there to protect YOU and ensure your safety and believe me they have enough to obnoxious passengers and duties to contend with, without stirring up additional hassles. If people paid attention and followed the policies, this would all be a non issue.

  10. The stupidity in some, no, all, of these pro-mask comments, is astounding. Actually, it’s not. Stupidity run rampant nowadays. #sheep

  11. @Luke Vader – Or these children never learn compassion and flexibility, grow up bitter, and become flight attendants.

  12. I am appalled by all of the negative pro-mask comments. How can one watch this video and not be moved by it?
    Enforcing a 2year old to wear a mask? And while eating? Seriously?
    Have we lost completely any common sense and humanity?
    This flight attendant has what I call “a uniform syndrome”. This unfortunately is not the first flight attendant who displays such an unrestrained, exaggerated pleasure in “punishing” violators of so called “airline rules” without exercising any common sense.
    My heart goes to this family victim of such stupidity and abuse by this obtuse flight attendant.
    Kudos to Spirit who left her on the ground. I hope she gets fired or at least disciplined to teach her the humility lesson she deserves.

  13. Hey Chris….you go right ahead. Your plane has problems and you go down, enjoy the ride and try exiting without the FA’s help…Karma catches up with people like you.

  14. I didn’t think it was legal for a 7 month old pregnant lady to fly. She could possibly have her baby. Anyone know the updated legality on this?

  15. Parents planning a flight with small children should prepare the children for the trip. Have maybe 5 or 6 masks that fit them. Play airplane with them and give them a choice of which mask they will wear. Do this often before the planned trip, making their own choice of what mask they will wear gives them control over their own body. Make it fun. Take all the masks with you so if they change their mind mid flight you can again offer them their own choice.

  16. What is more concerning to me, is the 2 year old by FAA rules should be in his own seat, with his own seat belt. Clearly, the child is at risk sitting on his mother’s lap if there were an emergency. Not to mention the safety of the unborn child……..

  17. exactly. But the bozo’s responding here think the FA’s should enforce the rules. Really great when your beloved 2 year old becomes a 60 lb projectile and hits their head during clear air turbulence .

  18. It’s pretty easy to see who here has children and who does not. There’s a reason car doors have child safety latches – young children are interested more in satisfying their curiosity than maintaining safety. Airline policy doesn’t even register on a toddler’s radar. If a toddler decides they don’t want to wear a mask then they will do everything in their power to remove it. Some kids may be OK with masks, some won’t, OK some days, not OK other days. You cannot reliably train a 2 year-old to do ANYTHING let alone don a mask covering their mouth and nose for the duration of a flight (i.e. a lifetime).

    My wife and I have been taking this virus seriously from the very beginning. Haven’t been on a flight or even out of state since Jan 2020. In the early days we consolidated shopping to once every two weeks and sported N95s & gloves at Costco when others thought we were weirdos. We got the vaccine right away. We adapted our lifestyle to cook more and pretty much stop eating at restaurants altogether, still getting takeout to support local businesses.

    We also don’t believe the virus is very transmissible in certain situations or in certain types of people. Airline ventilation reduces likelihood of transmission. Children just aren’t likely to spread this virus. Combining these two, a child on an airplane is very low risk. Airlines should seriously up the age to a point where children can fully grasp what’s going on, maybe 6 or 8 years old. Until then we’ll continue seeing these stories and my family will probably be added to the ridiculous lifetime ban list when taking our first flight next month, over something we cannot control without physically restraining and mentally scarring our child.

  19. @Rosner
    A 737-8/9 has 4 doors (2fwd, 2aft) and 4 overwings (2ea side) but only 4 galley gossipers. Think everyone will need one of these clowns to show them where the door/hatches are….assuming the f/as weren’t the first one out (which they frequently are). The occupation has become unnecessary since they’ve fought to justify how little they actually do.

  20. You don’t even require or need a response. You are arrogant and ungrateful to the majority of FA’s who care and do their job in that spirit of caring. There are exceptions in every field. May you get to meet them all.

  21. COJO, then with all due respect, why are you even considering the grief of attempting to take your child/children on a flight? No, I do not have kids, but if I did I would not want to inflict the hassles on myself of following the rules meant for the good of all, and would just not go. I do have a canine daughter and many hotels now welcome us…but I am sensitive to others and do not inflict us in areas where we may not be welcome. It’s just common sense and common courtesy.

  22. @Robin, we’re flying to my brother in-law’s wedding which has been rescheduled a number of times. There’s no grief, but rather annoyance at an absurd and impossible policy. Are you sure you’re more protected if a 2 year-old wears a cloth mask? Aren’t you concerned about all the bare-faced 1 year-olds? A number of airlines outside the US have more reasonable age requirements like 6 and 11 years to wear a mask. That seems much more reasonable, practical, and impactful is all I’m saying… p.s. We have a canine as well and also don’t take him where he’s not welcome. Children are not dogs.

  23. Which is why I simply said in the first place a section needs to be set aside where families can be kept together with a shield or divider of some sort so everyone can feel protected even if NOT masked. No I’m not sure I’d feel any more protected if a 2 year old wears a mask, cloth at that. Children are incapable, usually, of following directives or understanding their need. But their parents know the rules in advance and know if they will be able to abide by them. Children rarely cover their sneezes or coughs and that is always a risk in any public place, including a grocery stores. But if I’m paying for an airline ticket and have been told what the policies are, I expect them to be enforced. And sorry/not sorry, but there are similarities as to children and dogs and where they are welcome. More often than not my pup is far better controlled and behaved than many children that are left to do whatever. My pup never put gum under the table of computers in the hotel lobby or put stickers on a wooden post. And I would rather fly with a planeful of dogs that respect FA’s than one of passengers who do not.

  24. @Robin, we’ll be flying in F with our young children, so fortunately there will be a divider.

    I have no issue with FAs whose job it is to enforce policy. The issue is the underlying policy itself which was likely designed by someone who either doesn’t have children, or whose children are fully grown and doesn’t realize this will be impossible for families to follow. This rule will be broken by pretty much every toddler at some point while flying. It will inadvertently result in a number of unlucky families getting haphazardly banned for life, despite trying their best to force a mask on their toddler who is not a statistical risk for spreading Covid. It’s simply a poorly designed policy.

  25. @Rosner
    You’re right. I don’t respect your “profession”. Covid has shown just how unimportant and unnecessary flight attendants (and their unions) really are.


  27. @Rosner
    Yawn. You can’t do anything about me on a plane. Keep fantasizing hero.

  28. Not fantasizing, just wishing that some of the FA’s who tune in here will be watching for you and Karma will be over your shoulder. What is it they say…you can’t fix stupid and I wish you and your family luck evacuating on your fantasy flight without flight attendants. And I am no hero nor do I strive to be

  29. @Rosner
    3 segments today on AA in first. Come at it. I think you’ll be surprised though.

  30. Some of you have to be about the dumbest [redacted] of all time…. She clearly said the rules was 5 AND UP. And the little girl was EATING what she suppose to do eat through a mask ? And for the one that said give sleeping medicine THEN put a mask on, you can tell you DON’T have kids. That can make your child have a hard time breathing…. As well as others on the plane mentioned OTHER KIDS DIDN’T HAVE A MAAK EITHER. They were singled out.

  31. Why is this story showing up from April again? It was bad enough the first time. In the interim, I must say I have reconsidered one aspect, and that is that we can’t really know what it’s like unless we have experienced it, and that goes for the less than thoughtful though hopefully well meaning, rule makers. It reminds me a bit of a recent piece of education I received, we signed my elder mother up for hospice care. She has dementia and in the past couple months incontinence has become another problem. Aides tend to her daily and although I read something about how hospice was supposed to provide ANYthing the patient needed, I learned they do NOT provide baby wipes. Not to be confused with bath wipes for people who are bed bound. The aides tell me the reasoning is because one could easily use a washcloth and warm water for the same purpose, but clearly this was not the thought process of someone who had to care for an incontinent x2 adult. One doesn’t want to have to deal with washcloths soiled with fecal matter if there is an easier solution. Same as there should be an easier solution to the mask rules. FA’s are between a rock and a hard place. I’m sure it’s hard to enforce some of these rules when you are a mom and know what it’s like.

  32. mask requirement for 2 year old on airlines is a shit show, and those supporting such mandate, you clearly don’t travel much, or you must have a genius tootler who understands grammar, math, and communication at much more advanced degree than the rest of the world.
    For all of us fortunate to have a “normal developing” tootler of 2-3 years who is barely developing learning skills of communication to understand sounds, movements, and random words, or barely be able to understand or pronounce a simple word/instruction of “bye”, “hi”, “hello”, “mama”, Papa”, for those of us in this category, then you know how difficult it is, if not impossible on most times, to have your tootler try to wear something that makes them very uncomfortable, angry, and that they don’t want or can’t understand what it is for.
    For those of you who don’t have kids, please refrain from posting any comments. Until you have your own, you have F.. idea what it means to deal with a tootler, much less try to opine on a topic that frustrate you as a parent who love his/her child and want their kids not to grow traumatize for dump guidelines or recommendations that are so far detached from reality.
    As with many other subjects, our Federal regulations are often very detached from reality and place the most absurd requirements that most people end up breaking because clearly were written by individuals or entity that are so far detached from human connection.
    And airline’s personnel, at the end, remember that you have a job because, we the people give you the opportunity, aside from from paying your full salaries throughout this whole pandemic show with our tax payer money.. yes our tax money, because at the end, we the people support this Gov’t, the taxes, and ultimately all these wages you received without working for so many months.
    peace !!.

  33. There is no law that says you must fly with small children. As someone who has adult children and grandchildren, I realize they have their own ideas of what they want to do or not do. However the regulations during this unusual time are necessary for the protection of all people. Perhaps the wisest thing is not to travel by plane until your child is able to understand a bit more. Let grandma come to you if visiting is so important. Have several masks and let them chose which one to wear today. Set up chairs at home and play flying. Putting on seat belts and during the pandemic wearing a mask. You and your child are not the most important person in the world. I see small children wearing masks in grocery stores and they are not making a fuss. The attitude of the adult makes all the difference in the world.

  34. @Alicia Page, the child had a mask on, they took it off the child because she was eating. What she suppose to do eat with her mask on ? That’s about dumb as hell. And they went to Florida to do the Passover for their religion.. they were flying back home to were they live. So it wasn’t about visiting just because they went down to Florida to do what they do in their religion…. And the topic of kids wearing a mask in grocery stores, stop comparing kids…. Not every kid in the world are the same. Some kids can do it and are fine and some don’t like things on their face or some can’t due to health…. The child was 2 years old by law 3 years and younger don’t need a mask…. And the airline she was on was 5 years and younger didn’t need a mask…. Either way her child was eating she shouldn’t need a mask on to eat. As they stated in the video there were other people ( adults and other kids ) not wearing a mask but they got singled out because the person that complained does not care for their religion. They were singled out !

  35. Passover is a family event and can be done in any home. It would not be necessary to go to Florida to prepare a Passover dinner. Traditions in a family can be started in any family for any special event.

  36. Normally I refrain from commenting, but some of these post have zero empathy or compassion for humanity. Have you ever considered that there are situations where air travel cannot be avoided. My family is moving across the country and I don’t have a choice to “just not fly” with my Toddler. Until a child has reasoning they should not be forced and parents should not have to suffer. Guidelines can be two and up, but enforced after age (x). 6 is the youngest in other counties, most are 11 or 12. As a mother I’d love for my Toddler to wear a mask. Guess what he won’t wear a hat or helmet either. Never has even I’m freezing cold weather. Think about this, I bet many including my son aren’t potty trained either. If a kid can’t communicate enough or is willing to be potty trained, do you think this same kid will wear a mask for hours? My child also cannot be bribed, doesn’t care about characters/cartoon, picking his own things, could care less about what he wears, ect. Are there some Toddlers that comply? Yes! And awesome for their parents. Doesn’t mean parents of stronger willed kiddos should be punished whom are willing following rules. Until you experience what’s it like to parent one of these babies (and yes toddlers are babies) then you don’t have the right to judge.

  37. On August 25th, 2021, my daughter Callie and I were traveling back HOME to JFK from PHX on flight # 2236 booking confirmation SKMAOI. Unfortunately, we had an unpleasant and tormenting experience. We encountered some of the rudest and cruelest flight attendants, pilots, and gate check personal at Phoenix airport. Their customer service was inadequate and unacceptable.

    It started just as we boarded the flight. One flight attendant rudely asked, “how old is she”? I responded, “she just turned two.” The flight attendant proceeded to say, “she needs to wear a mask” I said “Ok, I understand but she does not understand why she has to wear one. It is hard for me to keep it on her.” We made our way to our seats and settled in. Then another male flight attendant came over to our seats and said to try to put a mask on, I proceeded AGAIN to try and put it on my Two-year-old daughter as she battled me screaming, throwing her hands up and ripping it off, just as quickly as I put it on. He then went and got another male attendant to come over and they both start attacking me saying the SAME thing. They both were THREATING to throw us off the flight and verbally abusing me, when I then started to CRY, with nothing left to say. THIS WENT ON FOR AN HOUR! Back and forth, the flight was delayed because of this.

    Finally, I thought it was over, and my daughter finally fell asleep I gently placed the MASK over her face. Then the PILOT came to our seats saying the same things as the flight attendants. Meanwhile the MASK was technically ON her. He was impolite, mean and uncaring towards us. I’ve never felt more degraded, ashamed, embarrassed, angry or sad on a flight before.

    My family WAS a HUGE jetBlue fan for many years. My father is a mosaic customer (not the past year due to COVID-19) we both have jetBlue credit cards and over 100k in points. We have traveled jetBlue countless times over the years and I NEVER encountered ANYTHING like this. Honestly, I am disgusted with how jetBlue treated us. It’s ironic how we got all the way to PHX with NO problems or QUESTIONS.

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