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Jewish Group Accuses Frontier of “Bigoted Behavior” Over Removal of Couple

The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs council is accusing Frontier Airlines of encouraging “bigoted behavior” after a couple were removed from a flight over an alleged face mask violation. The group says the family was removed because their 18-month-old child didn’t wear a covering, while Frontier says a “large group of passengers” didn’t comply.

Was an orthodox Jewish couple unfairly treated by Frontier Airlines when they were asked to leave a flight over an alleged face mask violation? USA Today reports the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC) is accusing the Denver-based carrier of discrimination over the interaction caught on video.

Orthodox Group and Airline Provide Conflicting Narratives Over Incident

The incident happened aboard Frontier Airlines Flight 2878, departing on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021 from Miami International Airport (MIA) to LaGuardia International Airport (LGA) in New York. In a nearly two-minute video shared on Twitter, the OJPAC accuses Frontier of singling out the couple because their infant was not wearing a face covering. As they leave the aircraft, the video shows people applauding, while they accuse staff of saying “we did it.”

On a second video, another Jewish couple are seen confronting the cabin crew over the incident. When other Jewish flyers got up to leave the aircraft, the flight was ultimately cancelled.

Frontier confirmed that Flight 2878 was deboarded and ultimately cancelled, but dispute the OJPAC’s account of what happened. The airline claims that combative attitudes and alleged aggression towards the crew lead to the couple’s removal and flight cancellation.

“Multiple people, including several adults, were asked repeatedly to wear their masks and refused to do so,” a Frontier spokesperson told USA Today. “Based on the continued refusal to comply with the federal mask mandate, refusal to disembark the aircraft and aggression towards the flight crew, local law enforcement was engaged.”

Although there are questions as to which side escalated the situation, other groups are weighing in by asking for more information. The Anti-Defamation League of New York and New Jersey called on the Airline to do “a full and transparent” investigation into the incident.

Families Continue to Run into Troubles with Infants and Face Masks

Although this incident is unique due to the accusations of anti-Semitism, families have been particularly affected by face covering rules when flying with toddlers. By September 2020, several families publicly accused airlines of targeting smaller flyers and children with autism spectrum disorders unfairly, prior to the federal face mask mandate was instituted.

SamirD March 10, 2021

Yep, another case for security cameras in the cabin...I won't be surprised when it happens.

dts6b March 5, 2021

El Al (the Israeli Airline) would have treated these people the same way. It is embarrassing for most Jews when highly visible Orthodox Jews claim they are not subject to the same rules as everyone else in a secular setting such as transportation. El Al has had to remove many Orthodox Jews from flights over the years for various reasons -- often arising from Orthodox men refusing to sit next to a woman who isn't part of their family. All of my Jewish relatives and friends are embarrassed by such behavior.

John Aldeborgh March 5, 2021

I must be missing something, I don’t see any “high 5’s” or a crew celebrating the ejection of passengers or any bigoted behavior. I see many passengers milling about when they should be sitting quietly in their seats minding their own business. The crew and pilot did exactly the right thing canceling the flight and travels should respect the instructions of all crew members. If you can’t do this and observe the rules, don’t get on the plane as you’re the problem, it’s that simple.

Annerk March 5, 2021

The CDC mandate is clear. “The following categories of people are exempt from the requirement to wear a mask: A child under the age of 2 years;” A child under two should not wear a mask as it creates a substantial risk of asphyxiation or aspiration.

ftv March 4, 2021

Babies have to follow the law, too. No exception for naughty children. I'm glad they were removed and offer the airline and its passenger should sue these passengers for thinking just because they have a child, they are special.