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, 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. “Here’s an idea: be brave enough to wear a mask in public.”

    There’s nothing brave about this. In fact, it’s one of the most cowardly acts one can perform.

  2. how is requiring a 2 year old to wear a mask silly? Is the author not aware that COVID isn’t prejudiced? Its going to infect anyone. And since children spread illness faster for the same reason as here (parents don’t obligate them to be treated with the same hygeine plan as older kids because ‘they won’t cooperate. Theyre kids!!). I dont want to seem like a huge asshole, but I have cancer and am immunocompromised. Im at a bigger threat than most. But i also did daycare for 13 years. The passengers were not sticking up for this woman out of courageousness, you heard them . They said they did not want to get off that plane. I dont blame them tho.

  3. @joe I seriously hope you are the 1 of 6 people in the world who will have cancer in their life. Its the only way you’ll learn how stupid you sound. You’re literally complaining about a simple harmless safety precaution that could save lives. You lock your doors at night despite it being possible a robber can still invade. This is no different. Stop watching fox news and learn that the world doesn’t revolve around you just because you aren’t immediately effected by this.

  4. @Henna – I am not certain what you’re asking, “dismissing the possibility that this 2 year old isn’t a possible threat?” I am not dismissing the possibility that this two year old isn’t a possible threat.

    I am also not dismissing the *possibility* that they are a *possible* threat, though the preponderance of evidence highly suggests very young children don’t spread the virus much.

  5. @henna – it is certainly not the case that young children spread covid-19 ‘faster’ than adults. where do you base that belief?

  6. Total death toll (all deaths from all kinds of reasons) in Serbia (population ca 7 million), where CoViD-19 pandemic was officially pronounced in mid-March 2020, was 51,569 in the first six months of 2019 and 740 less, ie 52,309 in the first six months of 2020. Just saying.

    True, there was a curfew, quarantine and whatnot, so it resulted in probably fewer traffic accidents, and deaths on job, which I imagine do not make a major part of all deaths anyway, but in general, the total number of deaths dropped in 2020 compared to 2019. Granted, there were many deaths officially assigned to CoViD-19, at the expense of other contagious deseases, so… it is a kind of flu-like illness, replacing other kind of inflamatory flu-like illnesses.

    And still we have to wear masks in enclosed spaces, but not under 4 year olds.

  7. My god are you people really bitching about a child. A child for heaven sake. It’s a child and they don’t know and don’t care. It is hard for parents and no one knows the circumstances of why they are on the plane and why they are traveling but everyone has made huge assumptions about it all. Irregardless of your stance in mask it is a child. Get over yourselves.

  8. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, it “recommends all people 2 years of age and older wear a mask in public.”

    She knew her child was not compliant on the way to disneyworld. Why does she think she would be coming back ? She knew prior to flying her child at all, she knows her own child. That’s why the flight attendant recognized her ! She was irresponsible flying during a pandemic. She put her childs health and the passengers health at risk. She likely figures they would make an exception for a child. No special treatment lady. She made very poor decisions and is now putting it on the airline. It’s irresonsible and immature. Clearly the author here is not just reporting but making his opinion clear.

  9. Are you not reading new evidence showing that kids who are less likely to have symptoms are spreading it to adults who get sick ??? Kids are super spreaders. Their not out there washing their hands regularly and masking up if they don’t have responsible parents. This woman is an example if an irresponsible parent.

    Google is your friend Gary….

  10. Kids are super spreaders.
    The woman was selfish in all her actions including flying during a pandemic with 6 kids, expecting special treatment and not getting off for the good of all passengers as a whole. Please read this article Gary. I posted this already yet it’s not showing. Why is that ?

  11. @Dominique – alarming title notwithstanding, what you cite does not support your claim. It’s a sensationalized version of the same study referenced earlier in the comments, testing a small number of kids and finding a high viral load. The study did NOT present evidence of spread by young children, just that the kids examined had the virus is substantial quantity. The idea that emans they are ‘superspreaders’ is fallacious in the extreme. More modest voices, smaller mouths and noses alone may mean they don’t EMIT as much of the virus that they have as adults…

  12. Gary, Google if kids are spreaders and see what you come up with. Kids are human too! They also take less precautions unless their parent is on it which this woman was not. They have noses and mouths too lol. They said kids carry even more of the virus, but lack symptoms. Couple that with a child yelling and screaming and that’s a big risk of contamination. Small noses? I guess Latoya Jackson couldn’t spread it then lol.

  13. You’re right. Doctors and scientists who studied this know less than you. No need to educate yourself more. Kids noses and mouths are so teeny tiny and cure, they can’t possibly contain any germs! The kid at my local store in front of me in line screaming last week was definitely not exhaling any particles. No way not with that tiny mouth screaming so loud you could hear on the other end of the store. Of course no mask for that 5-6 yr old. In fact, kids never get ill themselves either and thus can’t possibly make others ill. When you hear of one kid giving others a cold in school, it’s all a big lie ! When they say to kids to stay home if sick it’s all a big conspiracy. Your argument is like saying, no the little kid who accidentally shot their little sibling couldn’t possibly have done it. They don’t have money for a gun, they don’t have the know how, they don’t have the strength. Right. Kids are incapable of any harm. It’s not the kids fault, they don’t know any better. It’s poor parenting. And anyone who defends it likely has out of control kids at home. Kids calling the shots, not shameful at all.

  14. They probably heard the kid screaming in the terminal and came up with a quick solution to not have to listen to the little monster for hours! Seriously, these people going to DISNEY in the middle of a pandemic amaze me…you don’t think FL had enough problems so you’re gonna drag a half dozen kids down to eat, drink and spread germs? Some people DO have to travel, I doubt it was a necessary trip, but for arguments sake, say it was…we need to triple check regulations in this day and time to make sure we are compliant I’d say do it before the pandemic, but certainly now with so many companies and countries, cities, states, government and private establishments having various rules of who is and isn’t requiring what on any given day. I’m in Alabama where it is common to see a bunch of Covidiots running around in stores with their “face covering” literally hanging off their ear on one side only and saying stupid things like “they said I have to wear a mask, they didn’t say how I had to wear it Bubba” and I honestly wish we had the mask Nazi’s in our stores and establishments to make them wear them or go the hell home. Jesus H Christ, if these dumba$$es would just get over their stupidity, wear the mask, wash their hand and follow guidelines, we could go back to something that FRIGGIN’ RESEMBLES NORMAL LIKE THE REST OF THE SANE WORLD! But noooooo, we’ve got a bunch of idiots who are so concerned about their rights, but don’t worry about their responsibilities, a bunch of cry babies who think they are too special to have to do this. Those are the same whiners who don’t understand why all the businesses are closing, why the virus isn’t going away and why other countries are doing so much better than we are! Because they spend all their time watching stupid Qanon videos and TikTok being convinced someone is out to get them. Damn I’m sick of this stupid $hit! Just grow up and lets get this over with already!

  15. Omg Penny you are awesome! You’re the type of person I’d be happy to be friends with 🙂 you are on point 100%!!! Everything you said I’ve said almost word for word. Online I find like minded people. In real life it’s harder. I wish more of my friends thought like you on this topic ! This has been such a tense time for my friendships.

    Don’t quote me on this as this is hearsay. But my understanding is that her kid threw a big fit on the way to their destination (likely Disneyworld!) and the flight attendant had a talk with her. Then that same fight attendant recognized her coming back and the same issue occurred with the toddler. Thus the mom had a warning but thought they would just cut her slack since she’s with kids looking all innocent , and even in her video she pretended to be the wounded victim saying the airline ruined her kids for life lol. She put her kids in that position. They are innocent but her lack of discipline, responsibility, and entitlement put her in that position. She flew home using American or United. She should have used those joke airlines from the start. They have always been about the money and not about safety. They proved that pre and post pandemic. Oh and Spirit too, another joke airline.

  16. So does the mask go over the top of the pacifier? Kids at age 2 are practically babies still. There’s a reason the WHO and UNICEF say children under 6 shouldn’t wear masks. Even some children who are “great at keeping masks on” touch all over the front of the mask. I’ve heard stories of kids chewing on masks. As long as their mouths and noses are covered, I guess the other passengers are happy, though.

  17. Not really our concern if your baby is with or without pacifier. That’s for you and baby to decide. But the mask needs to be on snugly. A pacifier doesn’t cover the nose nor does it prevent the babies germs from coming out the sides. 2 years and up mask up is the rule. Thinking toddlers are germ free is silly. Please care about people beyond just yourself & baby. Thank you.

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