Two Year Old Kicked Off JetBlue Flight For Refusing To Wear A Mask

Southwest famously kicked a family off of a flight last week because their 3 year old autistic child wouldn’t wear a mask. Southwest’s policy is clear that all children 2 years old or older have to wear one, and there are no exceptions. Not everyone can wear a mask, and those that aren’t able to cannot fly Southwest at this time.

JetBlue’s policy is similar, saying that anyone who cannot wear a mask “should postpone travel until this temporary requirement is no longer in place.” And JetBlue has now enforced their policy against a two year old.

Everyone Was Kicked Off The Flight Because A 2 Year Old Wasn’t Wearing A Mask

A mother traveling with her six children from Orlando to Newark were removed from a JetBlue flight because although she and five of her children were wearing a mask – this was not a family taking some sort of ideological stand – her two year old was not wearing one.

  • The mother had understood JetBlue’s policy not to require masks for small children. That was the policy when she bought the ticket, not when she traveled.

  • The two year old wouldn’t wear a mask. To keep the child from screaming she had a pacifier in the child’s mouth.

Flight attendants insisted the family deplane, but they would not do so – so the Captain ordered the entire flight to get off. At that point,

Most people on the flight began sticking up for the woman, and screaming at the flight attendants. The screaming continued in the terminal, as irate passengers were seen on viral videos calling on everyone to call customer service and complain.

Yeshiva World News has video (which was provided by the family that was kicked off):

JetBlue Is Within Its Rights, But Requiring Masks On Two Year Olds Seems Silly

The father says he plans to file a federal lawsuit against JetBlue. He’s unlikely to win, as they’re clearly within their rights to insist on mask wearing for public health reasons. At most it seems they should have been due a refund based on change in policy after ticket purchase. In the current era with limited flights (even in the Florida market) that is still an inconvenience.

Most mask confrontations have been with people who refuse to wear them because they believe it violates their freedom, even though it isn’t a government mandate and may make it possible to exercise the freedom to travel in the first place (without a heavier hand of government). Remember in April, Sara Nelson, head of the Association of Flight Attendants wanted the government to ban leisure travel altogether.

Here I think is the toughest case. Getting a two year old to consistently wear a mask can be a real challenge. And though masks generally may be helpful in limiting the spread of Covid-19, that’s far less likely to be the case with very small children.

The preponderance of evidence certainly suggests that very small children aren’t likely to spread the virus, particularly asymptomatic children under 10. There’s very little scientific basis for a mask requirement for a two year old who isn’t exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19.

I understand the desire for simple policies that are easier to enforce, and that the average passenger doesn’t understand the difference in risk which is largely the reason the government bans e-cigarettes on planes even though there’s water vapor and not second hand smoke. It’s also the case that most conclusions about the virus, though we’ve learned a lot very quickly, remain tentative so there may be a desire to err on the side of caution.

Parents With Small Children Who Can’t Wear Masks Should Fly Delta

JetBlue was certainly within its rights to remove this passenger. I wouldn’t enforce a mask policy on two year olds. My only advice for families with small children in this sort of situation is to fly Delta, because their mask policy is clear: “young children who cannot maintain a face covering and unaccompanied minors are exempt from the mask requirement.” Delta also has a clearance process for people with medical reasons not to wear a mask, that involves a virtual doctor consultation at the airport prior to travel.

(HT: @jonny_m_weiss)

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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Comments

  1. I commend Jet Blue for enforcing their policy. Way too many adults and children are still flying because for various reasons (many valid) people believe rules don’t apply to them and they believe they are entitled to be non-compliant. I applaud airlines that enforce their rules. This is the inly way airlines can regain traveler confidence. People want to know that mask rules will be enforced.

  2. Airlines are wedged between a rock and a hard place during this pandemic. They could have made an exception, but if the child coughed and sneezed the whole flight it would have gone viral, instead they enforced policy and kicked off a 2 year old and…. well here we are.

  3. Why are these mask-related altercations still news? If you’re age two or older and around other people or in an enclosed space, you need a mask on, properly fitted. Period.

  4. Delta better not board any mask-less people for my flight. Transferring through ATL is crazy enough with dumb ass morons.

  5. 1- what was the exact date of the flight? was it before or after JetBlue changed its policy?

    2- either way they are owed a refund in ca$h of the unused portion and maybe even any extra it cost them for new tkts Unless the new policy was in place when they purchased the tkts for the JB flight

    3- what if any policy does the FAA have both at the time said tkts were purchased and when the flight was flown eg if I purchased a tkt and at that time smoking was permitted and by the time my flight came around it wasnt allowed any longer I cant say tough when I purchased the tkts it was allowed so Im gonna smoke to my hearts content

    4- She should have told the FA sorry I will not deplane until a LEO comes on board and tells me I have no choice, so that she shouldnt be told afterwards sorry you left on a vol basis

  6. @lm you really don’t know kids do you some kids won’t wear a mask no matter how hard you try unless you slap them then the mother will have child services called on them

  7. While JetBlue is technically right here they come off as incredibly un-caring, these rules were put in place by executives I doubt most of them know what it’s like to try to keep a toddler following rules specially an annoying mask on your face. And to all those chiming in “don’t fly” that is not always an option people visit sick relatives etc
    And the risk of catching Covid from 1 toddler versus throwing off the whole family and embarrassing them, negative PR for JetBlue, just seems silly….

    Now if only people can be a little more understanding in these trying times!!

  8. According to the Daily News: “The airline company updated its policy Wednesday at 2 p.m. — just 44 minutes AFTER [the two year old kid’s] flight was set to take off at 1:16 p.m. — noting that “all travelers 2 years and older must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their journey.” Regardless of how you feel about masks, this was wrong because they changed the policy AFTER they kicked the kid off the plane. Before (when they boarded) the policy simply stated that a child who couldn’t wear a mask was exempt.

  9. I commend JetBlue!! Thank you for thinking of all the other passengers on that plane and not just on the family of 5 or 6. We all have choices and if she couldn’t get her child to wear a face mask to protect her and the rest of the passengers then rent a car and drive with the your family without mask all you want. We are still learning about this virus everyday so let’s take all precaution necessary, even if it’s a 2 year old.

  10. @abby
    You seem a bit to old to assume . What makes you think JetBlue executives don’t have young toddlers? Because they were also thinking of others on the plane? Caring was the reason they followed the policy without exceptions. If they allow one 2 year old toddler then tomorrow it will be a 5 year old and the week after a 25 year old. If you can’t comply with the policies put in place to protect ALL passengers then fly another Airline like Delta which obviously CARE enough to make exceptions on wearing mask. People will now fly JetBlue with confidence so great PR thanks to the writer of this story!

  11. It’s all fun and games but I guarantee that all some of these pro maskers are going to die if this nonsense keeps up. This whole thing is sad.. it really boils down to anyone that is willing to travel and continue living life should continue living life. Anyone scared of the cooties should not be out of their house in the first place (unless they are total hypocrites, since the only 100% sure way to stop the spread is shelter in place initiatives) This is fixing to get serious real soon.

  12. Gary: is this an attempt to push higher commissions from Delta for you?

    If this family (or any other family) can’t follow the rules, how did they get to Orlando in the first place?

  13. @Monet Poster the family might have flown down before Jet Blue changed its policy, or the kid was willing and did wear a mask on the way down(assuming the tkt started up North)

    These changes happen all the time especially with VISAs , its not important what was in place when you booked your tkt and it is very Important what the policy is when you actually will be entering the Country, eg The UK made returning citizens mandatory 14 day quarantine as of last Sat 4am, so those in Spain and France raced like heck to make sure they entered before that time and almost everyone cut their vacation short. Although when they purchased their tkts and flew out of The UK there was no mandatory quarantine upon return. Lesson is Things may and will change and its up to us to know if anything has changed since we purchased a tkt or flew our Outbound

  14. People commenting here don’t have young children.

    When my son was two he got fairly sick (upper respiratory virus in December) and had to wear a mask nebulizer at the pediatrician office for a few minutes. Impossible. My wife and I, along with two nurses, had to physically restrain him while he wailed and it was probably a scarring experience.

    If a two year-old really doesn’t want to do something they simply won’t unless you apply force. They lack logic and rationality. They would walk straight across an interstate without blinking. This isn’t political, this is just an impossible parenting situation. Fortunately our son, now much more mature at (barely) three, loves cloth masks and thinks they are fun to wear.

  15. I see the mask nazis are once again on here congratulating Jetblue. Hey morons! A single 2 year old on a plane without a mask is no risk. And if you think that wearing a mask is a panacea against the virus, you’re too dumb to fly!

  16. To make a toddler wear a mask is in humane. This woman was also a religious Jew. I am positive that anti Semitism players a role here as well. The baby still sucks a pacifier for gods sake! How does an airline do this to a mother flying alone with her children?

  17. One question to Jet Blue, why can adult take off the mask to eat or drink (without an official limit of time) & a toddler CS t take it off for his pacifier?
    Is wearing a mask a punishment for traveling? Or a preventative for spreading the virus? If the latter than don’t exempt for adults when eating or drinking the same way you don’t exempt For toddlers for taking a pacifier.

  18. @Joe it appears the true Trumpist Nazis like yourself are also here in full force. Of course you and your kind are the first to say “follow the rules” when it’s a POC involved. Hypocrites the lot of you

  19. If you’re afraid of 2yo kids spreading the Wuhan virus.. seriously.. lock yourself up like Joe Biden

  20. LOL Jose, what a ridiculous video. I’d like to see him blow the vape straight into the camera with no mask. You would be totally immersed. He says the masks “have no effect whatsoever”, yet clearly the vapor settles around him and within his 6 foot perimeter, and doesn’t touch the camera which is likely less than 6 feet away. Looks like all of those masks helped, except the one with the one-way valve which are, rightly, not allowed in many places.

  21. The video starts with her refusing to get off the plane. I’m sure they asked her to have the child wear a mask and she got nasty about the whole thing and it escalated. Somehow I doubt she was being reasonable prior to her turning on the camera to record.

  22. You have to wonder why she is travelling from a COVID hotbed to a region with low covid which would require quarantine. If she is throwing this much of a fit about putting the mask on a child then what are the chances she is going to comply with the quarantine? Where were they with all those kids? Disney world on vacation? Looking into the story more she lives in Brooklyn where we have had repeated problems with the jewish community complying with social distancing and repeated large outbreaks of COVID in those particular communities. I don’t blame the flight staff. Chances are she was very argumentative about the whole thing and her claims she would put the mask on the kid after the video started rolling sounds like an invitation for a problem in the air. She might have put it on for takeoff but would have likely created a situation in the air which is why they removed her. I can’t imagine any scenario where they did not give her a chance to comply first before resorting to removing her from the plane.

  23. @Lisa Rasmussen oooh you are soo brave. Anti-maskers and people who refuse to socially distance are exactly the reason why we have a pandemic. People like that aren’t brave. They are the idiots that have caused us to be outcasts in the world and through their refusal to take basic steps have created conditions that have caused many unnecessary deaths and continue to do so. Has nothing to do about people with masks being scared. It has everything to do with the people who refuse to comply being selfish morons.

  24. @bill good you show your true colors you obviously have never had power freaks flight attendants before like the rest of us I’m sure they were being very reasonable before the camera turned on right your comments show the real reason your siding with the fa enough said

  25. @Gary any idea what date the flight took place and what date and time Jet Blue changed its policy on its site. 2 important questions in determining who is right

  26. It appears that a mother took her six children to Disney World in the middle of Florida’s dramatic second wave of coronavirus cases. That risky action in itself makes me less sympathetic.

  27. This is the most ridiculous mask debate yet. Jet Blue should be ashamed of themselves and get this flight attendant some updated training. Sure those able and within reasons should wear a mask, but no on in their right mind can expect a toddler to wear one consistently. I hope when all this shakes out – airlines with policy like JetBlue’s are the first to crumble.

  28. @ Gary: Thank you for responding to my comment above.
    I asked because you said, “Not on Delta” to Seth’s comment, “Why are these mask-related altercations still news? If you’re age two or older and around other people or in an enclosed space, you need a mask on, properly fitted. Period.”
    I saw what you wrote about Delta at the bottom of the piece, but your follow-up comment was still a bit unclear and misleading in response to what he wrote.

  29. “…as they’re clearly within their rights to insist on mask wearing for public health reasons.”

    Clearly, exercising their “rights” isn’t the same as exercising their “intelligence”.

    “…even though it isn’t a government mandate and may make it possible to exercise the freedom to travel in the first place (without a heavier hand of government).”

    Gary continues to advance this false narrative and it only serves to display his ignorance. Also, does anyone honestly believe these companies would be this hard core if not for the “heavier hand of government”? The face diaper mandates started at government and filtered out to the private sector. These mandates all have their roots in government. Quit trying to make them the product of a free market.

  30. @Bill… “The obedient always view themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly.” Robert Anton Wilson

    That quote perfectly encapsulates you.

  31. While at the outset it would appear this was due to non-compliance with the companies rules which are fully enforceable by said organization JetBlue. The mum’s belligerent behavior did her no favor. She incited mob mentality with her actions while at the same time making sure she obtained recorded “evidence” of the situation as she turned to her child at the window and vocalized such expectation.

    I’m certain if she maintained a calm demeanor, recognized that she wanted an exception (one-off situation), it’s possible it may have met a different outcome. This is the very problem today; everyone want to be the exception to the rule. Then when they get to claim that exception they turn it around at the next opportunity with, “They didn’t make me last time.” In essence, the one-time policy deviation becomes their personal expectation of treatment each time. I know this from experience with such individuals after 20+ years in management. I’d hear it from employees, clients, and patients alike. It’s ridiculous!

    Where was her husband during this flight? Why was he not with her? If you know your child is not able to meet situational expectations, find another way, be your own exception. Own your self! The scene this fussbox put on display for her children was pathetic. Just because you’re loud and obstinate doesn’t make you right. Take accountability for what is yours and deal with your issue as an adult should. Find another way.

    I applaud JB for taking a stand for their policy not choosing a course of deviation.

    When you deviate from policy, you have no protection.

  32. @Lisa Rasmussen Hello, bully! “Anyone scared of the cooties should not be out of their house in the first place”. What a brave woman you are. I’m actually afraid of people like you that are careless and irresponsible. I don’t have a problem getting out of my house, I have a problem with the ones like you that don’t care about making this situation worse. Here’s an idea: be brave enough to wear a mask in public. I know, tough to swallow, but you can do it. The rest of us will be rooting for you.

  33. @Lumpy – just reporting a study suggesting children may have just as much of a viral load which is *not* the same thing as being just as likely to transmit the virus.

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