A young family's video has gone viral since they shared it on social media detailing the harrowing experience they had while attempting to fly from Denver to Newark, New Jersey, on United Airlines.
Eliz Orban, her husband and 2-year-old daughter, Edeline, were set to visit family in New York over the weekend when their travel plans were cancelled.
The United crew members ordered the family to leave the plane after daughter Edeline did not comply with the mask mandate.
"We are premier silver members at United, so we always fly with them," Orban said. "In fact, we had flown with Edeline four times already since the pandemic, without ever having an issue."
Orban's tear-filled video—originally posted on Instagram that has since been made private—shows the couple's attempts to put a mask on the child, without success.
Today we got kicked off of a United flight going from Denver to Newark because our 2yo would not "comply" and keep her mask on. Go see the full IGTV on my Instagram @elizfulop pic.twitter.com/KXCICsBSMj— Eliz Orban (@elizfulop) December 12, 2020
After the final checks had been made, a flight attendant came to the couple and asked them to leave.
The couple also tried to comply with the mandate by holding a covering over Edeline's nose, but the effort was denied.
At the start, the couple were told they were banned from flying on the airline in the future.
United Airlines released a statement on the incident:
"The health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority, which is why we have a multi-layered set of policies, including mandating that everyone onboard two and older wears a mask. These procedures are not only backed by guidance from the CDC and our partners at the Cleveland Clinic, but they're also consistent across every major airline. We are investigating this specific incident and have made contact with the family. We also refunded their tickets and returned their car seat and bags."
United also said the family is welcome to continue flying with the airline.
"Whoever made this law has never had a 2-year-old," says Kimberly Fletcher, founder and president of Moms for America, and mother of eight. "We used to laugh at the ridiculousness of this whole mask nonsense, but it is no longer funny. When you mess with our kids, you've crossed a line you don't want to mess with. It is absolutely unacceptable that a family was thrown off their flight because their toddler wouldn't wear a mask."
Unfortunately this is just the most recent incident in which families were asked to leave due to children's noncompliance with the mask mandate.
CBS News reported on a story in August in which a family that included a Brooklyn mother traveling with six children from Orlando to New York on JetBlue was kicked off the flight.
Likewise, Southwest Airlines faced backlash after their inconsistency in enforcing mask policies caused a Chicago mother and son traveling to Florida to be kicked off their flight. And adding to the growing list of similar instances, Rachel Starr Davis of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was traveling on American Airlines when the plane was emptied and all other passengers were allowed to reembark except her and her 2-year-old son.
"This mask 'mandate' is out of control," Fletcher says in a news release. "If it really were necessary, really did make a difference, and really was in their best interest, I would work my mama magic to do what was needed to keep her safe. But the fact is that none of this is true. This is a huge political lie. The abuse, intimidation and bullying will stop! Corporations need to stop caving to the media hype. United Airlines cannot offer any explanation that makes this acceptable!"
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