(updated 1:05 p.m.)
This much is true: An 18-month-old was pulled from a JetBlue flight and her family was questioned by Transportation Security Administration agents because the airline said the child appeared on a “no-fly” list, her parents said.
The parents said they were sitting on the plane Tuesday night at the Fort Lauderdale airport when a JetBlue staffer asked them to get off, according to a report by WPBF 25 News. The staffer told the parents that TSA agents wanted to speak with them – about Riyanna, their toddler.
“Excuse me?” the mother said she responded. “It made no sense,” the husband told the TV station. “Why would an 18-month-old child be on a no-fly list?” Neither she nor her husband wanted to be identified for safety reasons.
The TSA, however, denies the child was ever on a no-fly list. In a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the agency said:
“TSA did not flag this child as being on the No Fly list. TSA was called to the gate by the airline and after talking to the parents and confirming through our vetting system, TSA determined the airline had mistakenly indicated the child was on a government watch list.”
The family was detained for 30 minutes before allowing them to re-board, the parents told the station. The couple, who are of Mideast descent but were born in New Jersey, believe they were singled out because the mother was wearing a hijab, a traditional head scarf. The couple said neither the TSA nor airline offered an apology.
When contacted, JetBlue told the station it was a TSA matter. In a later statement the airline said, “Our crew members followed the appropriate protocols, and we apologize to the family involved in this unfortunate circumstance.”
The family refused to get back on the flight.