Published on : Friday, July 21, 2017
The airline, however, said the situation on June 21 at Fort Lauderdale — Hollywood International Airport had turned into “a verbal altercation that included physical threats and profanities.”
Tamir Raanan, his wife, Mandy Ifrah, and their three children were fastened into their seats, ready to return home to Brooklyn, when the one-year-old, sitting in her mother’s lap, started to bawl and kick the seat in front of them, said David Templer, an attorney for the family.
Ifrah apologized to the passenger and then tried to focus on her toddler. Templer said the other passenger used a derogatory slur and said, “Why don’t you tie your baby’s feet down?” He said although his client found it offensive, she does not have any recollection of doing anything other than attempting to calm her child down.
“Then it was over — it was a nonevent,” he said on Wednesday. “It was like getting flipped off in traffic and you just keep going.”
But the pilot returned the plane to the gate, Templer said, and a JetBlue supervisor told them to gather their things.
“They were basically humiliated in front of this crowded airplane, humiliated in the gate and abandoned thousands of miles from home,” Templer said.
No footage has been released of the initial event, but cellphone video, taken by Raanan, shows the couple arguing with the JetBlue supervisor, who asked them to get off the plane so “we can discuss this.”
“No, discuss it here,” Ifrah said in the video, which was posted online. “I have three kids — I’m not taking my kids off this plane.”
“What I need you guys to do is come with me outside the plane so we can have a discussion,” the airline supervisor said once again.
“I need to get to New York,” Ifrah replied. “I need my kids back home.” She went on to complain about the passenger who had been seated in front of them, saying the passenger told them: “You should tie your kid’s feet because she’s kicking my chair.”
Outside the plane, the couple continued to press the airline for answers about their removal but the supervisor said there was “no need to give an excuse.”
After several minutes, Broward County sheriff’s deputies stepped in. Someone off camera could be heard trying to calm things down. “Just listen to me for a second,” he said. “If you listen, I’ll explain.
“They’re kicking you off the plane — whether it’s right, whether it’s wrong, this is their plane. So they can do whatever they want to do. That doesn’t mean you don’t have any recourse. It doesn’t mean you can’t solve this in another way. You’re not getting home tonight on JetBlue.”
When asked again for answers, he said: “You guys have to go. You can take it up with JetBlue — make a complaint, sue them. You have all kinds of options.”
The family’s attorney said their baggage continued on to New York, so the parents had to buy diapers and baby clothes for the night, get a hotel room and then book a flight the next day on a different airline. When they arrived in New York, they discovered that JetBlue had returned the luggage to Fort Lauderdale — so they had to hire someone to go get it and ship it back to Brooklyn, Templer said.