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Caught on Camera: Family Asked to Deboard Spirit Flight When Parents Didn’t Follow Face Covering Rules

Caught on Camera: Family Asked to Deboard Spirit Flight When Parents Didn’t Follow Face Covering Rules
Joe Cortez

Another family is crying foul against Spirit Airlines, after a flight attendant was caught on video asking them to leave the aircraft over face covering noncompliance. The altercation happened as the child was eating prior to departure, with the flight attendant claiming it was the pilot’s decision to have them removed.

A family of Spirit Airlines flyers are accusing the airline of discrimination, after a flight attendant asked the group to leave when a child was not wearing a face covering prior to departure. The nearly three minutes of video was shared by Twitter account Breaking911, in which the unidentified flyers aboard a flight departing Orlando International Airport (MCO) for Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) accuse the carrier of discrimination. However, the airline says that it wasn’t the child at fault, but rather the parents who violated the federal face covering mandate.

Family Says They Were Targeted, Accuses “One African-American” of Singling Them Out

In the first video shared to social media, a Black Spirit flight attendant approaches the family, asking them to deplane. When the family asked what they did, she informed them that “I didn’t want to do this,” but their face covering non-compliance was the reason for their removal. When they asked for clarification, the flight attendant said: “She’s not wearing a face mask.” When they asked about their lap infant, the flight attendant nodded.

In fact, the child was not wearing a face mask, as she was eating when the attendant approached. Other flyers said they were not uncomfortable with the context, and would vouch that the child would wear a face covering once she were done eating. Yet, the confrontation continued, with the family continually pleading their case and demanding an explanation of what they did wrong.

In a second video shared by Breaking911, the unidentified male flyer – presumably the father of the child in question – accused the airline of conspiracy and discrimination. His outlandish claims included “someone on the phone, before we even got on the plane, was planning this,” and “there was one African-American that was not okay with this.” Ultimately, police were called to the aircraft, and stood by while the situation was resolved.

In a statement to FlyerTalk, a spokesperson for Spirit confirmed the incident took place, but clarified that it wasn’t the child that was in question. Instead, they say the parents were asked on two occasions to wear a face covering, and failed to do so after both requests. The entire flight was deplaned, and a supervisor in Orlando made the decision to allow the family to continue on the flight. Police were called, but did not intervene during the incident. Their behavior ultimately caused a two-hour delay, which required a partial crew change – the airline confirmed that the flight attendant involved was not rotated out because of the confrontation.

Incident is Second Time in One Month Spirit Stood Accused of Removing Children over Face Coverings

This incident is the second time in less than 30 days that the Florida-based ultra-low-cost-carrier stood accused of unfairly removing a child from a flight. In March 2021, another family said they were asked to leave a Spirit flight because their non-verbal Autistic son could not wear a face mask, despite having a doctor’s note confirming the condition. The airline announced a policy change shortly afterwards.

View Comments (16)


  1. mvoight

    April 5, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    There is more to this story. If the kid is under 2, then no mask is required. If they are at least 2, then they do not have to wear a mask while eating. The article says the kid is 2, and since the claim is a mask policy is being enforced due to the child they must be at least 2. If they are 2, then cannot be sitting on your lap at take off. Additionally, the man seems to not want to keep his mask on. I suspect there is much more to this.

  2. mvoight

    April 5, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    Ah, the rest of the story, the issue was with the parents refusing to follow masking rules.
    This seems legit, as clearly the man is having trouble keeping his mask on, and if you are eating you aren’t getting kicked off for not having a mask on.

  3. DewdropInn

    April 6, 2021 at 4:33 am

    The father took his mask off 3 or 4 times during the video. Right to ask him to deplane. And he brags that he didn’t cheat the system by buying the baby a flight. Way to go for doing the right thing 🙄

  4. vargha

    April 6, 2021 at 4:51 am

    If the parents were at fault, they wouldn’t have been let back on. Spirit is 100% at fault here.

  5. Cotumely

    April 6, 2021 at 5:09 am

    Seems to be an inconsistency here. The attendant is saying it’s the child not wearing the mask; the airline claims it was the adults, who we can see were wearing masks, except when querying why they are being deplaned.

    If Spirit are in the wrong, hope the family sue them for a lot.

  6. Tagent

    April 6, 2021 at 5:26 am

    What context supports your claim of an adult not wearing a mask being the issue ?

    Masking is important and the right thing the do. And of course the law. (although I love the announcement after a flight lands asking everyone to respect social distancing as they exit the Aircraft,

    How about masking a special needs child on a plane??
    It is difficult with any child. Get your facts straight

    Did anyone say anything about anyone asking the family to mask anyone ?

    Is it Spirit Airlines just saying so?
    Or perhaps video supporting a different narrative?
    If the captain asked that they be removed then have him be the one on record.
    Perhaps, (and likely) the captain wasn’t privy to all this.

    Flight attendants have difficult jobs oftentimes dealing with unsafe people. I personally make an effort to talk to most of them as I find most to have fascinating stories. I’m sure any flight attendants reading this story are shaking their heads surprised this wasn’t deescalated. It is a skill most have.
    HOWEVER, they should never have the power to be judge, jury, and executioner.

    To the author of this article: The family was allowed to fly. The flight attendant was not for convenient reasons..
    Next time please use the word “alleged” in an Accusatory

    -From another person on the flight

  7. cybdiver

    April 6, 2021 at 5:26 am

    I thought the age is two? If he bought a ticket indicating she is over age 2 by his own admission she should have worn the mask. So the flight crew knew she was over two and should have reminded him she is over two. The fact she just turned two does not matter. Dems da rules.

  8. MRM

    April 6, 2021 at 5:31 am

    1. Joe, what’s the actual gist of this story? It’s as if you’re reporting upon two separate events.
    2. Wear a mask. Don’t bother arguing.
    3. Was the child really special needs? It was almost included here as a “toss-in” piece of information – though really, it shouldn’t matter in the end.
    4. Why is a lap child sitting on a pregnant woman’s lap on a plane? How’s THAT going to work with a seatbelt?

    In the end – wear masks or don’t bother flying. This thing is in the home stretch but is NOT over yet by a few months – IF everyone maintains mask discipline and gets their butts vaccinated. If I had been delayed over this stupidness AND these people STILL got to fly anyway? Well, that’s what attorneys are for – I’m told they love this type of thing…

  9. arcticflier

    April 6, 2021 at 5:47 am

    Was this incident racially motivated?

    Look at those uncomfortable plastic seats!

  10. polinka

    April 6, 2021 at 8:02 am

    The FA clearly said it was because the child wasn’t wearing a mask. The other pax vouched that the couple had been wearing their masks.

  11. Cotumely

    April 6, 2021 at 8:39 am

    Polina, this isn’t what Spirit are saying. They are claiming it is the parents who are the problem.

  12. WebTraveler

    April 6, 2021 at 12:11 pm

    I do not know Spirit’s purchase policy, but others are quite clear before you purchase you MUST wear a mask. If that does not work for you, then you don’t get to fly. It’s that simple.

  13. Hawkeyefan

    April 6, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    Ah, grab some popcorn. ANOTHER face off onboard due to those ridiculous masks again.

  14. DeltaFlyer123

    April 7, 2021 at 7:10 am

    I think people have totally gone nuts. If airlines want people to fly again, they need to exercise some common sense.

  15. mrspilot


    April 7, 2021 at 11:35 am

    Seriously, people are still arguing about wearing face masks? Stop with all the noise–it’s a rule! Don’t fly if you can’t abide by the rules.

  16. strickerj

    April 8, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    Half the comments here refer to the mask rule, but isn’t there an exemption for children under 2 (which the child would be if she’s in the mother’s lap rather than her own seat) and while eating (which the child was doing)? I’m not arguing against the mask rule but it seems some of the knee-jerk reactions to perceived noncompliance are ridiculous.

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