When a two-year-old refused to wear a mask onboard a JetBlue flight from Orlando to Newark, New Jersey, all passengers were forced to deplane.
Before the flight departed, a flight attendant approached Chaya Bruck, who was traveling with her six children, and asked that her youngest daughter, Dina, wear her mask properly. All other five children were wearing their masks.
Bruck to NBC New York, “I said I could try but then she was pulling it off. A few minutes later, they came to me and they told me that I have to gather my things and I have to get off the plane.”
Bruck refused to leave the plane, maintaining that it was unfair to expect a two-year-old to wear a mask properly for the entire flight and that the airline’s policy did not make it mandatory for two-year-olds to wear masks. Despite outcry from other passengers defending Bruck, eventually, the whole flight was forced to deplane and the family was stranded.
The New York Daily News reports that Bruck had flown with JetBlue from Newark to Orlando 10 days prior on August 9, 2020, with her family. At the time she already had a conversation with a flight attendant when two-year-old Dina would not wear her mask.
Bruck argues that the same flight attendant who was on her first flight was also part of the crew during the August 19 flight and recognized her.
“The minute he saw me today, he recognized me,” Bruck said to the New York Daily News. “I heard him tell the other stewardesses about me. They came over to me and told me my daughter was 3 years old. I told them she’s 2 … I know how old my child is, she’s going to be 3 in September.”
According to JetBlue, the airline’s policy about face covering was updated on August 10 to include two-year-olds. Currently the JetBlue website reads “All travelers 2 years and older must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their journey, including during check-in, boarding, while in flight and deplaning.”
JetBlue spokesman Derek Dombrowski made the following statement: “During these unprecedented times, our first priority is to keep crewmembers and customers safe, and we’ve quickly introduced new safety policies and procedures throughout the pandemic. “Children age 2 and over must wear a face covering, consistent with CDC guidelines, which say, “masks should not be worn by children under the age of 2.” […] Customers receive an email before their flight outlining the latest safety protocols and face covering policies. Our crew members are ready to assist customers in the airport and onboard who might need support. We have a flexible rebooking policy for those who are unable to meet this requirement, and customers who refuse to follow these standards after requests from crewmembers will be reviewed for further travel eligibility on JetBlue.”