New York Family of 5 Booted Off JetBlue Flight After 1-Year-Old Kicked Passenger's Seat: 'This Is Ridiculous'
Tamir Raanan and Mandy Ifrah's 1-year-old became agitated and kicked the passenger's seat in front
JetBlue is standing by crew members in what they are calling an “unfortunate incident” involving a Brooklyn family of five on July 2.
Tamir Raanan and Mandy Ifrah were returning home to New York from Fort Lauderdale when their 1-year-old Eden, who was sitting in Ifrah’s lap, became agitated and kicked the passenger’s seat in front, according to a press release sent to PEOPLE by the couple’s lawyer David Templer.
The statement claims that Ifrah apologized to the woman in the seat and “exchanged a few words” with her before she moved to an empty seat. According to the family, a flight attendant asked the pilot to return to the gate and the family was removed from the flight.
“This has caused huge problems for the family,” Templer tells PEOPLE exclusively. “It could have been resolved with an apology and payment of defenses, but we were not successful in getting JetBlue to offer us an explanation.”
Templer adds that since the family went public with their claims, they have been receiving hate mail.
But in a statement released to PEOPLE, JetBlue claims that the verbal altercation “included physical threats and profanities against a nearby customer.”
“The aircraft door was reopened and our airports team politely asked the customers to step off to discuss the situation. The customers refused repeated requests and our crewmembers deplaned the entire aircraft. Law enforcement escorted them out of the gate area and we provided a refund,” JetBlue says in a statement to PEOPLE. “The customers were not removed due to the actions of their children. We are investigating whether the customers’ behavior warrants restrictions on JetBlue travel and we thank our crewmembers for their professional handling of this unfortunate incident.”
The family videotaped the incident, which is posted to YouTube in two parts. The first video shows the parents refusing to disembark the plane when a flight attendant repeatedly asks.
The second clip shows Raanan and Ifrah arguing with airline staff and police officers at the gate. “This is ridiculous, wait, record this!” says Ifrah. “I want a reason, we have a right to know why.”
The couple demands to know if the woman on the plane is also being removed. “The lady said ‘Tie your daughter’s feet!’ ” says Ifrah, who begins crying.
Through Templar, the couple claims JetBlue told them they would be booked on a flight the next day, but would need to find overnight accommodations. The statement goes on to say that the airline “did not remove their luggage from the plane leaving them without clothes and baby supplies.” They were reportedly banned from all future flights.
“The customers were not removed due to the actions of their children,” says JetBlue in response. “We are investigating whether the customers’ behavior warrants restrictions on JetBlue travel and we thank our crew members for their professional handling of this unfortunate incident.”
The incident is making headlines only two months after JetBlue reportedly booted a family of four off their flight from New York City to Las Vegas after the airline took issue with the placement of a birthday dessert for the mother.