Family tossed off flight after toddler kicked seat
A FURIOUS Brooklyn couple says American low-cost carrier JetBlue booted them and their three kids off a flight after their 1-year-old kicked the seat in front of her.
Mandy Ifrah, 35, told the New York Post on Wednesday how she, her husband, Tamir Raanan, 37, and their young daughters were buckled up for takeoff June 21 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida., for their flight back to the Big Apple after attending a wedding.
"It was 8:30pm, and the flight was already 40 minutes delayed. The kids were cranky, my baby was sitting on my lap," Ms Ifrah said.
"She is about to have a bottle and kicked the lady in front of us. The lady huffed and puffed. She got up and said, 'You should hold your baby's feet.' I said, 'She is a baby - what would you like me to do? I'm sorry, and I am trying my best to control the situation right now.'"
The fuming flyer moved to an empty adjacent seat, and Ms Ifrah thought the matter was resolved. Until the pilot then returned to the gate.
A JetBlue supervisor who came aboard then told the family to get off the aircraft without offering an explanation, Ms Ifrah claimed.
"He wouldn't give me an answer, he told me I was black-listed until we have an investigation. He said, 'You can't fly JetBlue, call 1-800-JetBlue," the mother said.
However, JetBlue has countered, saying that it wasn't cranky little Eden's legs that got the family the boot - but rather her parents' "physical threats and profanities" against the other woman.
"The aircraft door was reopened, and our airports team politely asked the customers to step off to discuss the situation," JetBlue said, referring to the Ms Ifrah and her family.
"The customers refused repeated requests, and our crew members deplaned the entire aircraft. Law enforcement escorted [the family] out of the gate area, and we provided a refund."
But the family's lawyer, David Templer, lashed back, denying that his clients were belligerent and saying they have been deluged with hateful comments since the nightmarish episode.
"They have been getting messages on Facebook and e-mails telling them they're scum, they're pieces of s - t and that they should leave the country," he said.
"This is just JetBlue's after-the-fact attempt to distract from the incident and assassinate the character of a family of five who were abandoned - after being humiliated - without their luggage."
After being booted, the parents were stranded in Florida with Eden and her 3 and 8-year-old sisters while their luggage continued its trip to New York.
The bags were then inexplicably returned to Florida, and the couple had to arrange for them to be flown back to New York again a week later, Mr Templer said.
The family was forced to shell out $2,000 for airline tickets and other expenses the next day - but JetBlue only refunded $500, he said
Meanwhile, the airline has barred Mr Raanan - a JetBlue member since 2004 - and his wife from flying with the airline.
The couple initially sought just an explanation and apology from JetBlue, but they are now contemplating a lawsuit alleging defamation of character and infliction of emotional distress, Mr Templer said.
"There are no words to explain how they made us feel that night, the humiliation, amount of money, just everything was horrible," Ms Ifrah said.
"You're with your kids trying to protect them, and they are crying and want to sleep."