Spirit Airlines changed the wording of a tweet claiming that a couple in New Jersey did not comply with its mask protocols after videos of them being kicked off a Monday flight appeared to show a flight attendant quoting the couple’s young children maskless on board.
The budget company initially said Ari and Avital Eisenberg of Toms River, NJ, refused to follow a federal mandate requiring air passengers to wear masks. The couple were with their children – Rikki, 2, and Daniel, 7, who have special needs – after spending Easter in Florida.
“We are aware of incorrect information circulating about Spirit Airlines Flight 138 from Orlando to Atlantic City. The flight was delayed due to the adults in the party not complying with the federal mask requirement,”
The couple told Fox News in an exclusive interview that a flight attendant kicked them out of the plane because Rikki did not comply with the airline’s mask policy, which states that passengers ages 2 and older must wear a mask. Avital Eisenberg, who is seven months pregnant, said she also explained that her son has frequent seizures and that covering his mouth can provoke them and promised to do his best to make sure he kept the tire on.
“I told you, non-compliance – you’ll have to get off. I did not want to do this,” said a non-crew member who originally confronted the family.
“We are wearing masks,” Avital Eisenberg said in a video of the incident.
“She’s not wearing one,” the flight crew member says of the 2-year-old who was sitting on his mother’s lap eating yogurt. “The pilot wants you gone.”
After video footage showed flight crew members quoting the maskless children to make the daily flight, the airline deleted a tweet with its original statement and sent out a new one omitting the word “adults”.
“The flight was delayed due to compliance issues with the federal mask mandate,” the amended sentence reads.
“I have no words. Next level fragility. I understand if I gave any position … but there was none of that. We were about to leave,” Ari Eisenberg told Fox News Monday. “Everything was fine, and suddenly someone comes up to us and asks us to plan. We complied with them and nothing to say. I kept asking what we did not comply with them and nothing to say.”
Avital Eisenberg called the experience “traumatic” for his children.
“My son missed his medication window. Thank God he didn’t get a seizure. He was sitting there in a soft wet diaper because I couldn’t change him during it all,” she said. “My daughter is going crazy over all this, it was a terribly horrible experience to go through, let alone someone with a child with special needs.”
Spirit Airlines said it was sticking to its original statement to Fox News, the compnay said.
It was first reported through several outlets that a male flight attendant who originally made the request was allegedly not allowed to return on the flight and was seen escorted by the plane by Orlando police officers. But Spirit Airlines told Fox News “There is also no truth in claiming that the police were involved in or removed a flight attendant. Orlando police have publicly stated that although they were present at the gate, they did not take an active role in this situation.”
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The family was eventually allowed to board again and return home. The flight attendant, who originally confronted the family, was not allowed to return on the flight and was escorted off the plane by Orlando police officers.