A family was asked to disembark a Spirit Airlines flight for not complying with the federal mask mandate.
The video that went viral on Twitter shows the family being asked to leave by a gate agent who was on the flight. In the clip, the gate agent told the family that it was because their two-year-old child was not wearing a mask. The child can be seen eating yogurt in her mother’s lap. The recording, understandably, sparked outrage on social media.
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According to Spirit Airlines, this isn’t the entire story. The airline’s spokesperson told TravelPulse that Spirit’s staff had asked the parents to comply with the mask mandate two times before the incident in the video, and they did not. This led a flight attendant to request they leave the aircraft.
A gate agent told the parents that they had been asked to get off the plane, however, as seen in the video, indicating that this is because of the child, not because of the parents. Spirit’s director of communications, Erik Hofmeyer, chalked up the gate agent’s confusion to the chaotic boarding process.
The entire plane then had to deplane when the family did not follow the gate agent’s instructions to disembark. However, they were all allowed back on the aircraft and the flight, which was traveling from Orlando to Atlantic City, took off after a delay.
“We are just doing our best to keep confidence in air travel and enforce the policy,” said Hofmeyer.
Separate reports of the incident noted that a male flight attendant was seen disembarking the plane with police and was removed from the flight.
According to Spirit, that flight attendant was enforcing the mask mandate and was replaced on the flight voluntarily.